week 5

This week's case-study:

Case Study 4 and 7: Sierra Leone / World Crop


Further Reading

Simple cost-benefit analysis:
De Groot, R.S., J. Blignaut, S. Van Der Ploeg, J. Aronson, T. Elmqvist, and J. Farley. 2013. "Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration." Conservation Biology 27:1286-1293.

A bit more advanced:
Birol, E., P. Koundouri and Y. Kountouris (2010). "Assessing the economic viability of alternative water resources in water-scarce regions: Combining economic valuation, cost-benefit analysis and discounting." Ecological Economics 69(4): 839-847.

Next week we will simulate a cost-benefit-analysis for your chosen ecosystem. This economic method is a decision-making tool that will enable you to make a comparison between two scenarios:

1. the scenario that you explored in Assignment 2

2. a new scenario that you will create

The assignment is due on April 12, 2014.

  • Pls read Chapter 3 UNU-INWEH on Cost-Benefit-Analysis.
  • The choice: describe an alternative scenario for your existing case study. Develop a new scenario for the ecosystem described in Assignment 2. The scenario could be a variety of measures: e.g. adapting new land use practice, changing agricultural methods, using the land for a business / factory, excluding the land from use, turning it into a preserved national park, etc. The goal is to prevent (or reverse) land degradation, while improving the livelihood of (poorer) stakeholders.
  • Describe your scenario (approx. 500 words): What measurements are to be taken? Whose livelihood will you improve? What is the time span of your project? Are you going to include transfer payments (tax, subsidies, etc...)? Write a list of factors and items (goods/services) that represent costs and benefits for the two scenarios.
  • The Week_5 Practitioner's Guide_Form will help you to structure the discussion.
  • Note: Think boldly! In this assignment, you should pretend that you have all of the authority, the means, and the competence to better your ecosystem.
  • ...and: Your scenario can not be comprised of the entire land area. You must select and use only a section of the area.
  • Please use the etherpad that you used in Assignment 2. Place Assignment 4 above Assignment 3.


Over the next few weeks, we will develop a cost-benefit-analysis for your ecosystem. Cost-benefit analysis is a tool that helps decision makers assess whether or not a project is worth undertaking. The first step is assessing of the current situation, the costs and the benefits. We have begun doing that in the previous assignments. Now, we need to conceptualize a scenario that is different from what we have already worked on. The ELD goal is to prevent or reverse land degradation while improving the livelihood of people. Our new land scenario should reflect those goals.