Tag Archives: economics


The economics of land degradation provides you with a set of tools that enable you to value ecosystem services. Hannes Etter, Scientific expert of the ELD initiative, will talk about three preselected evaluation methods. He will elaborate on three case studies in which non-demand-curve approaches,  travel cost, and benefit transfer methods have been used.

Speaker: Hannes Etter, ELD Initiative
Host: Claudia Musekamp, Online Tutor
Date: March 26, 2014
Slides from the Presentation: The Economists Toolbox2

Hannes Etter is responsible for the scientific coordination within the ELD-network, including a broad range of case studies and partners from different institutions. Previous to his life in the ELD-Initiative, Hannes supported the Institute for Environmental and Human Security of the United Nations University, focusing on food security and rural development in West Africa in the WASCAL project.

Hannes Etter holds a Diploma in Geography. Throughout his studies he worked in southern Africa and southeast Asia, with a strong focus on rural development and community land use management and planning.

Farmers benefit from flourishing crops, cattle owners from green pastures, and tourists from the beautiful landscape: ecosystems are advantageous to us all. These benefits are crucial to the livelihood of millions of people around the world.

But what happens if ecosystems get disturbed and cease to produce the services that stakeholders need? What if land degradation starts producing serious side effects? Who pays for these side effects? We'll now adopt the perspective of society as a whole: a benefit for one stakeholder may be a loss for a larger community.

This week, we will examine the characteristics of ecosystem services in order to deepen our understanding of the affects they have on society and our environment: how do they fit into the bigger economic picture?

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There are 6 steps to estimate the economic benefits and costs of action:

1. Inception
Identification of the scope, loacation, spatial scale, and strategic focus of the study

2. Geographical characteristics
Assessment of quantity, spatial distribution, and ecological characteristics

3. Types of ecosystem services
Analysis of ecosystem services stocks and flows

4. Role of ecosystem services in community livelihoods and economic valuation
Role of the assessed ecosystem services in the livelihoods of the communities; role of overall economic development

5. Land degradation patterns and pressure
Identification of land degradation patterns, drivers and pressure on the sustainable management of land resources

6. Cost-benefit analysis and decision-making
Assessment of sustainable land management options

+1 step: Take action!

Read more: ELD Interim Report p 42

This week's case study

Recommended Videos




  • Topic: Ecosystem Services and their Stakeholders
  • Experts: Stacey Noel, Director of the Africa Centre at the Stockholm Environment Institute
    Host: Claudia Musekamp
  • Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 3.30 pm CEST (German time: 15.30 Uhr)
  • Recording
Stacey Noel used the case of Kenya where stakeholders at various level are involved. Slides from the presentation: Stacey Noel Stakeholders  

Assignment 2 (part 1) "Your Ecosystem's Services"

Describe an ecosystem, its services, and its primary stakeholders (250 words max.) This assignment is the first of two parts, and is due on March 22.

Since a range of various ecosystems exist, we ask you to join a team that relates to what interests you. See Teams here.

  • Read Chapter 1_3 UNU INWEH
  • Enact a case-study in your team. Agree upon an ecosystem "case" (you may select one of the lands from week 1's assignment). Briefly describe the land's characteristics and services that it provides. For each service, describe the main stakeholders affected. Please also indicate or estimate the number of stakeholders affected.
  • The worksheets of the Week_2 Practitioner's Guide (editable pdf) will help you through the process.
  • You'll get some more information on the upload next week.

For example: Ecosystem Services from Tempelhofer Feld

  • Providing: Community gardens produce food for 1.000 neighbors. This land is a test lab for urban gardening and agricultural initiatives in Berlin and the rest of Germany.
  • Regulating: The Tempelhofer Feld regulates the microclimate in the Tempelhof neighborhood for 250.000 people. It also plays a role in the water household of the city of Berlin.
  • Culturally/ Socially Stimulating: A strong tourist attraction for recreational activities like biking, kite surfing, and skating, attracting 2.000 visitors every weekend. Educationally Stimulating: after-school education in pop-up structures for 2000 kids from the area.
  • Supporting: ./.

We all enjoy the services that an ecosystem might provide: fragrant flowers and medicinal plantlife, clean drinking water, a tree's cool breeze. Be it forest, wetland or pastoral hills, our land provides us with ecosystem services that affect its immediate stakeholders and society as a whole.

The ELD approach is geared towards preserving nature while simultaneously preserving and improving the livelihood of people. Nature is valued as highly as we are because without its resources, we wouldn't be able to survive and thrive. The desire to make a living may drive people to do things that degrade the land they are living on. Poverty is a strong driver of land degradation, but there are other forces too.

Join us for an exciting week... one where we will explore the relationship between stakeholders and ecosystem services.

Don't we all enjoy fragrant flowers, a cool breeze, and clean drinking water? Be it forest, wetland, or pastoral hills our land provides ecosystem services to all of us: its immediate stakeholders and society as a whole. The ELD approach is geared towards preserving nature while simultaneously preserving and improving the livelihood of people.

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Which services does your ecosystem provide? »
Assignment 2: Your ecosystem’s services »
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