by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, FEEM and Ca' Foscari University of Venice
I am very happy to accept the invitation of the BioEcon Network and to address this second issue of our newsletter. The current year, 2010, is a special year to all social scientists, economists and others interested in the issues relating to biodiversity conservation. In fact, 2010 is not only the international year of biodiversity, it is also the year that testifies the conclusion of the international report of TEEB - The Economics of Biodiversity -, to which many of you have contributed and that shall be formally presented at COP10, Nagoya, Japan. Inspired by these contributions, the Twelfth annual BioEcon conference on biodiversity conservation will be focused on "From the Wealth of Nations to the Wealth of Nature: Rethinking Economic Growth". This year's event will take place in Venice and will be coordinated by FEEM on behalf of the network. The keynote speakers are Geoffrey Heal (Columbia University) and Joshua Bishop (IUCN). Embracing different perspectives, both will discuss the role of business, and the corporate sector at large, in the promotion of the investment and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. As in the 2009 edition, we expect to draft a program with over one hundred papers presented by the participants, with inputs from both academics, policy makers, ngo's or more generally from biodiversity conservation practitioners. In this context, the twelfth edition of BioEcon is also characterized by two specially-focused round-table panel discussions. The first focuses on "Bringing science to action: insights from conservation practitioners", and will be chaired by Conservation International. The second focuses on "Innovative participatory methods on valuation: a social take on biodiversity values", and will be chaired by the United Nations Environmental Programme.
Last but not least, we wish to acknowledge the support of the European Commission in establishing this important network, the ongoing assistance of my colleagues at FEEM in the organization of this year's edition, the partner organisations and all those who continue to present their research work to this conference, thus allowing us to make progress in this important realm of research. It is a pleasure for us to welcome you all at this event!
Paulo A.L.D. Nunes
BIOECON GOES EAST!
First BIOECON Workshop held in Beijing, China, 17-18 June 2010
The conservation of biodiversity is a global problem and the BIOECON network has continued to expand its horizons in recognition of this fact of life. In June 2010, the network held its first-ever workshop off of European soil by accepting the invitation of Beijing Normal University to convene a session under its direction. Professors Hu Tao and Mao Xianqiang of BNU and PERC-MEP were the initiators. A small workshop was convened attended by academics, policy makers and NGOs from China, North America, Europe and other Asian nations. The focus of discussion was on the role of management in the conservation of biodiversity in China. Professor Tim Swanson represented the BIOECON network and presented a series of case studies from a range of countries, illustrating how economics informs biodiversity management. The Chinese case studies focused on an EU Biodiversity Governance project in Xinjiang, and looked at the management of wildlife consumption, water allocation, and parks and reserves. It is hoped that the workshop is the first of many more to come, as the BIOECON network continues to expand.
UN Biodiversity Indicators - 2010
Defra has published the 2010 edition of the UK Biodiversity Indicators, which is available at http://www.jncc.gov.uk/pdf/BIYP_2010.pdf. It covers the eighteen broad indicators that were selected and agreed in 2007 to assess the general state of biodiversity within the UK. These indicators are broken down into 34 measures, which vary from trends in populations of particular species of animals and plants to assessments of the sustainability of fishing and agricultural practices and of the impacts of invasive species.
Nearly a third of the 34 measures have shown a deterioration over the long term, and a further third have insufficient data to assess them The worst long-term trends are in populations of farmland and woodland birds, specialist butterflies, and bats and in plant diversity. However recent improvements in bat populations, and UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species such as water voles, ladybird spiders and field crickets give some grounds for optimism.
Bioinvasions and Globalization synthesises our current knowledge of the ecology and economics of biological invasions, providing an in-depth evaluation of the science and its implications for managing the causes and consequences of one of the most pressing environmental issues facing humanity today.
Emergent zoonotic diseases such as HIV and SARS have already imposed major costs in terms of human health, whilst plant and animal pathogens have had similar effects on agriculture, forestry, fisheries. The introduction of pests, predators and competitors into many ecosystems has disrupted the benefits they provide to people, in many cases leading to the extirpation or even extinction of native species. This timely book analyzes the main drivers of bioinvasions - the growth of world trade, global transport and travel, habitat conversion and land use intensification, and climate change - and their consequences for ecosystem functioning. It shows how bioinvasions impose disproportionately high costs on countries where a large proportion of people depend heavily on the exploitation of natural resources. It considers the options for improving assessment and management of invasive species risks, and especially for achieving the international cooperation needed to address bioinvasions as a negative externality of international trade.
More information on the book: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199560165.do.
Valuing biodiversity in rice cultivation: a choice experiment approach developed within the EXIOPOL project
by Chiara Travisi
Abstract: This paper explores the use of a reallocation of the existing public budget scheme as the payment vehicle in a valuation exercise aiming to elicit public preferences for protecting biodiversity services in rural areas, with special focus on intensive rice cultivation in Italy. Using Choice Experiment, the study explored public preferences for alternative rice cultivation practices leading to higher levels of several biodiversity services: birds species protection, reduced presence of mosquitoes, conversion of cultivated areas into natural and the related landscape amelioration. The survey took place in the Province of Milan, Italy, via in-person interviews to a sample of 300 respondents in early 2009. According to the results, there are several interesting points that can be set. Firstly, all the attributes are statistically significant. In terms of biodiversity services this signals that respondents are able to understand the relationship between the proposed changes in rice cultivation practices and what this would bring in terms of enhancing both biodiversity as such (i.e. species diversity) and its related services (i.e. regulating and aesthetic ones). Among the services mentioned in the survey, mosquitoes reduction represents the most important service for respondents (€590household/year2009), who were therefore able to understand that an amelioration of the rice-field ecosystem would lead to a reduction of the mosquitoes proliferation. Similarly, respondents showed to appreciate the renaturalization of a part of cultivated area (€23.52/household/year2009 for the conversion of 1% of rice cultivated area into natural), and its effects in terms of landscape improvement, which is raked as the second important service (€203household/year2009). Biodiversity protection in terms of species diversity is also relevant for respondents, but it shows a lower unit WTP (€69.86/household/year2009 for the protection of one additional bird specie population). In principle, we might suppose to observe different WTP values for a different indicator of species diversity. These estimates all call attention to the feasibility of implementing an agri-environmental policy aimed at protecting biodiversity services in the future. More importantly, there are further implications about enhancing the applicability of biodiversity protection policies when we consider the results obtained for different biodiversity services. For example, the highest value attached to mosquitoes reduction would imply, for policy makers, that stressing more direct-use anthropocentric-related benefits in the biodiversity policies may encourage greater support from people with different environmental attitudes.
More info on the EXIOPOL project: http://www.feem.it/getpage.aspx?id=162&sez=Research&padre=18&sub=70&idsub=86&pj=Ongoing
The integration of environmental concerns into other policy areas is widely recognized as a key element to achieve sustainable development. It also represents a challenge for the environmental community, requiring not only a new approach to policy-making but also changes to existing policies and their implementation. This essential book presents a diverse set of perspectives and experiences on how to support sustainable development through the integration of environmental issues into various policy sectors.
The authors examine existing research on environmental policy integration (EPI) at three levels of policy-making: the national level, in relation to both strategic and sectoral decision-making; the regional level, where both supra-national and sub-national regional entities are discussed; and the local level, where strategies available to municipalities or individuals for furthering environmental policy integration are presented. New and innovative approaches to the study of EPI at these levels of governance are also proposed. They also demonstrate how the effectiveness of EPI depends on factors such as national, legal and administrative structures and culture, the stage of the policy cycle to which EPI measures are applied, and the level of integration among various modes of governance and instruments.
A short list of the research projects ongoing at NTNU:
1. The conflicting mangement fo wild Atlantic salmon and escaped farmed salmon'.
Research problems: Farmed escapees has become the biggest challenge. Potentially threat wild salmon: Ecological effects, interbreeding adn lice. Economic effects; harvesting values, wild stock values and competing use of areas.
2. 'Sheep-vegetation trade- off analysis. A study of the Nordic sheep farming system'.
Research problems: Optimal flock size and stock composition farm level. Grazing pressure and externalities. Effects of future climate changes.
3. 'Age.structured fishery models'.
Resarch questions: Optimal stock and harvest composition under various biological constraints. Effects of imperfect harvesting selectivity. Fleet competition targeting different year classes.
For more information, please contact Prof. Anders Skonhoft
The BIOECON Newsletter is prepared with the contribution of all the BIOECON Partner Institutions. Please send comments and questions to: email@example.com.
The BIOECON Newsletter is a four-month publication. Next issue: October 2010
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