Tag Archives: MOOC


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. 

Copyright: GIZ, Photo: Martin Egbert

Valuation methods provide us with more information on values and costs, thereby enabling us to make decisions. The range and impact of those choices may vary: should a piece of land be turned into a National Park? Should the private sector be allowed to use build a factory on it? Will a paradigm shift in agricultural methods help to inhibit land degradation? How can the livelihood of the people who live off of the fruits of land be improved? In order to make these choices, we have to come up with specific scenarios: land use patterns, stakeholders, costs and benefits. 

A Scenario for a cost-benefit-analysis »
Assignment 4 »
Resources Cost-Benefit-Analysis »
Live-event: How to do a cost-benefit-analysis »

Economics provides us with the methods we need to value ecosystem services. They have varied  approaches: some measure using replacement or repair costs while others refer to personal preference (what people both say and demonstrate). Benefit Transfer draws from other cases to make a comparison. This week we will be exploring evaluation methods and their effectiveness. We will apply them to the cases we are working on.

The Toolkit: Valuation Methods »
Assignment 3 »
Live-Event: How to Value Ecosystem Services »
Resources Valuation Methods »

This week's case-study:

Case Study 6 Honduras



Further Reading

List of online repositories and resources:

Production losses:
Bishop, J. and Allen, J., 1989. The on-site cost of soil erosion in Mali. Environment Working Paper No. 21. The World Bank, Washington D.C. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/1989/11/01/000009265_3960928152005/Rendered/PDF/multi_page.pdf

Alfsen, K.H., De Franco, M.A., Glomsrød, S. and Johnsen, T., 1996. The cost of soil erosion in Nicaragua. Ecological Economics. 16(2): 129-145.      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0921800995000836

Hedonic pricing:
King, D.A. and Sinden, J.A., 1988. Influence of soil conservation on farm land values. Land Economics. 64(3): 242-255. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3146248

Travel cost method:
Navrud, S. and Mungatana, E.D. Environmental valuation in developing countries: The recreational value of wildlife viewing. Ecological Economics. 11: 135-151      . http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0921800994900248

Contingent Valuation method:
Ngugi, G.W., Newton, L.E. and Muasya, A.M., 2011. The contribution of forest products to dryland household economy: The case of Kiang’ombe hill forest, Kenya. Ethnobotany Research and Applications. 9: 163-180. http://lib-ojs3.lib.sfu.ca:8114/index.php/era/article/view/197/320

Choice experiment:

Do, T.N., 2007. Impacts of dykes on wetland values in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta: A case study in the Plain of Reeds (PhD Thesis). Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia, Singapore.      http://web.idrc.ca/uploads/user-S/12114357241ThangNamDoRR.pdf

Blamey, J., Rolfe, J., Bennett, J. and Morrison M. 2000. Valuing remnant vegetation in Central Queensland using choice modelling. The Australian Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics. 44(3): 439-456.

Benefit transfer:
ELD Initiative http://eld-initiative.org/
UK National Ecosystem Assessment http://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/,
TEEB http://www.teebweb.org
EVRI https://www.evri.ca/
EnValue http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/envalueapp/

List of online repositories and resources :

Toolkits for valuation and assessment:

ARIES http://www.ariesonline.org
SESAME http://www.pdx.edu/ecosystem-services/
Earth Economics http://www.esvaluation.org
InVest http://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/
GLUES http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20766; http://geoportal.glues.geo.tu-dresden.de/
INFFER http://www.inffer.com.au/
MIMES http://www.ebmtools.org/mimes.html; http://www.afordablefutures.com/services/mimes
IVM Institute for Environmental Studies http://www.ivm.vu.nl/en/Organisation/departments/spatial-analysis-decision-support/research-themes/Mapping-and-modelling-ecosystem-services/index.asp
PBL group http://www.pbl.nl/en/dossiers/modelsanddata


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.

In Assignment 2 you identified non-marketed ecosystem services. In Assignment 3 you will select a valuation method appropriate to the case chosen. The assignment is due on March 29, 2014.

  • Pls read Chapter 2 UNU-INWEH. Since it is a fairly long chapter, you may want to split up the work and have each team member study one particular method.
  • Choose one suitable method for your case.
  • Write a brief summary about which method you've selected and why. Include the advantages and disadvantages (or obstacles to overcome) to applying it. It is unnecessary to carry out the method, simply report on it.
  • Please use the etherpad that you used in Assignment 2. Place Assignment 3 above Assignment 2.

Total economic value is one of the most common frameworks for environmental valuation. This framework is anthropocentric because it is based on how society values these goods and services. This perspective is based on the use of utility as a measure of preference.
In this course, we are looking at various methods used for calculating the total economic values. There are three types of valuation methods:

  1. Non demand-based methods
  2. Demand-based revealed preference methods
  3. Demand-based stated preference methods.

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?

Assignment 2 »
Resources »
The Market and its Failures »
Webinar 19. March – ELD engagement with the private sector »

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