Biodiversity valuation

Evaluating ecosystems, informing management practices

Tallow Beach - Byron Bay, New South WalesIn general, policy, funding and management decisions are heavily influenced by financial considerations. The lack of a dollar figure for ecosystem services can lead to their true value being overlooked, resulting in a negatively skewed policy or funding outcome. By undertaking an evaluation of the ecosystem services within your reserve or landscape you can:

A holistic approach to environmental evaluation

The economic valuation of ecosystem services is an area of increasing interest to those with management responsibilities for natural areas. Traditionally, the key values provided by natural areas, environmental reserves and botanic gardens are intangible or difficult to quantify. Examples include Economic valuation of biodiversity - protea at Mount Tomah Botanic Gardensthe educational and recreational value of the site to visitors, ecosystem services such as sequestration of carbon and pollutants, and bequest values such as the knowledge that the reserve or garden will be protected in perpetuity for future generations. 

Choosing evaluation methods

This choice of evaluation methods depends on several factors - the decision to be influenced, data available and acceptable assumptions. Broadly speaking, the value of biodiversity can be divided into "use" and non-use" values. The former includes resources that are consumed directly (for example timber and fish), ecosystem services such as flood control and carbon sequestration, and "option values" which are linked to the uncertainty over future demand or availability. Non-use values include bequest values, where the knowledge alone that a natural resource exists is valuable. For example, people value the existence of the Great Barrier Reef, whether they visit it in person or not.

Guidance and resources

Zipperlen Consulting draws on the approaches to biodiversity evaluation covered in the published reports of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project. This European The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)based initiative was conceived by the G8+5 countries in 2007, and commissioned to undertake an analysis of current international research into biodiversity loss and evaluation, and develop practical recommendations for policy makers and business owners across the globe. We also draw on recommendations published by the federal and state governments of Australia. For more information please see our Resources and Inspiration pages.

We also recommend managers consider undertaking our one-day workshop on "Understanding the Economics of Nature". This can be very useful in acquiring a basic understanding of the process and methods available, leading to a clearer picture of which approaches might apply to your own particular scenario.

Developing your evaluation - our approach

While every project has different needs, Zipperlen Consulting takes a staged approach to evaluating biodiversity. It is very important that we work together with you in the first instance to pinpoint the decisions that need to be influenced and identify available data sources. This initial consultation allows us to set the stages and timeframe for the project delivery.

While we stress again that every project is different the following brief outline of one possible approach may be helpful.

Biodiversity valuation - more information . . .

Contact us today for an informal, no obligation discussion about evaluating ecosystem services for your reserve, visitor centre or botanic garden. Call Shirley on 0409 235 432 or complete our online enquiry form and we'll get straight back to you.



Zipperlen Consulting

t: 0409 235 432
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Mainstreaming the economics of nature

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Management by measurement

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

The principles of TEEB international provide guidance for biodiversity evaluation across the globe.


Biodiversity valuation consultancy services

Dr Shirley Zipperlen PhD BSc
T/A Zipperlen Consulting
ABN 490 508 311 95

t: 0409 235 432
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