Economic Valuation of Habitats: The case of the Mediterranean Grove

Prof. Mordechai Shechter
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Increasingly, development stresses stemming from land-use changes, such as urbanisation, transportation networks etc., impact natural habitats and the species biodiversity resources embodied in them. The resources undoubtedly harbour uses still unknown to humanity, as well as to the indirect benefit through their contribution to the ecosystem resilience.

The functions of the natural habitat include the banking of preserved genetic biodiversity and medical and pharmaceutical characters for possible future use, maintenance of resilience, forestry products and their characteristics amenities, pasturing in open spaces and the indirect functions as landscape, rarity of the species and endemic species. It is important to note that uses that are less understood or as yet unknown may be potentially very important. The irreversible loss of any species may involve an unknown but potentially large loss to society. It is probably impossible, in terms of the opportunity cost, to preserve all species. Thus efforts must be made to protect the ones with the largest potential direct and indirect value to society.

To endorse sustainable development one should compare the value of the economic undeveloped natural resource to the value of this same resource after development has taken place. For such a comparison there is a need to evaluate the undeveloped resource and its components, which is the focus of this work. In order to evaluate the habitat’s monetary value we need to evaluate the species values by using the value of ecological values that we attempt to assess. The overall purpose of this research was to define an optimal preservation portfolio of species (=habitat), which will maximise long-term societal gain. The modelling framework aims to link ecological and economic parameters under conditions of irreversibility.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Economic Valuation, Conservation Policy
Stream: Economic Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Mordechai Shechter

Director, Natural Resource & Environmental Research Center, University of Haifa

Professor Shechter holds a Ph.D. from Ioea State University. He is currently on the faculty of the Department of Economics and serves as Chair of the Graduate Department of Natural Resource & Environmental Management at the University of Haifa, Israel. He is the founder and Director of the Natural Resource & Environmental Research Center, a university-based institute focusing on the socioeconomics of environmental and natural resource use issues. He served as the university Rector, Dean of Research, Economics Department Chair, and Faculty Association Chair. Recently he completed a five year term as President of Tel-Hai Academic Regional College in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel. Over the past 35 years he taught and published extensively in the fields of environmental economics and management, natural resource economics, and public sector economics.

Ref: S06P0317