The Wetland Book pp 2133-2139 | Cite as

Economic Valuation of Wetlands: Valuation Methods

  • Ritesh KumarEmail author
Reference work entry


Economic valuation methods are diagnostic tools which help assess individual or collective preferences for wetland ecosystem services in monetary terms. Such values can be estimated based on information directly derived from market transaction or through transactions in related markets. In cases where markets do not exist, individuals can still express value in terms of their ‘willingness to pay’ for a perceived increase in benefits or ‘willingness to accept’ compensation for a decrease in benefits. The choice of a valuation method needs to be made based on consideration of ecosystem services and the value component that is to be elicited. While direct market valuation techniques are suited for provisioning services, regulating services have been mostly valued using production function techniques or avoided costs and cultural services through a range of stated and revealed preference methods. The potential advantages and limitations, including the range of uncertainties associated with value estimates, need to be carefully considered while applying the values in policy contexts. For a robust policy interpretation, economic values need to be complemented by a good understanding of biophysical complexities as well as socio-political contexts in which ecosystem services are delivered and managed.


Economic valuation Revealed preference Stated preference Benefit transfer Uncertainty 


  1. Acharya G, Barbier EB. Valuing groundwater recharge through agricultural production in the Hadejia‐Nguru wetlands in northern Nigeria. Agric Econ. 2000;22(3):247–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbier EB. Valuing ecosystem services as productive inputs. Econ Policy. 2007;22(49):177–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birol E, Karousakis K, Koundouri P. Using a choice experiment to account for preference heterogeneity in wetland attributes: the case of Cheimaditida wetland in Greece. Ecol Econ. 2006;60(1):145–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carson RT, Flores NE, Meade NF. Contingent valuation: controversies and evidence. Environ Res Econ. 2001;19:173–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Costanza R, Pérez-Maqueo O, Martinez ML, Sutton P, Anderson SJ, Mulder K. The value of coastal wetlands for hurricane protection. Ambio. 2008;37(4):241–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Daily G, editor. Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems. Washington, DC: Island Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  7. Das S, Vincent RV. Mangroves protected villages and reduced death toll during Indian super cyclone. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106(18):7357–60.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Do TN, Bennett J. Estimating wetland biodiversity values: a choice modelling application in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. Environ Dev Econ. 2009;14(2):163–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emerton, L., editor. Values and rewards: counting and capturing ecosystem water services for sustainable development. IUCN Water, Nature and Economics Technical Paper No. 1. Colombo, SriLanka: IUCN, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Group Asia; 2005.Google Scholar
  10. Howarth RB, Wilson MA. A theoretical approach to deliberative valuation: aggregation by mutual consent. Land Econ. 2006;82(1):1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Koch EW, Barbier EB, Silliman BR, Reed DJ, Perillo GME, Hacker SD, Granek EF, et al. Non-linearity in ecosystem services: temporal and spatial variability in coastal protection. Front Ecol Environ. 2007;7(1):29–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kontoleon A, Pascual U. Incorporating biodiversity into integrated assessments of trade policy in the agricultural sector, volume II: reference manual, chapter 7. Geneva: Economics and Trade Branch, United Nations Environment Programme; 2007. Available at:
  13. Maharana I, Rai SC, Sharma E. Valuing ecotourism in a sacred lake of the Sikkim Himalaya, India. Environ Conserv. 2000;27:269–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Martínez-Alier J, Munda G, O’Neill J. Weak comparability of values as a foundation for ecological economics. Ecol Econ. 1998;26:277–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pearce DW, Pretty JN. Economic values and the natural world. London: Earthscan; 1993.Google Scholar
  16. Sathirathai S, Barbier EB. Valuing mangrove conservation in Southern Thailand. Contemp Econ Policy. 2001;19(2):109–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tapsuwan S, Ingram G, Burton M, Brennan D. Capitalized amenity value of urban wetlands: a hedonic property price approach to urban wetlands in Perth, western Australia. Aust J Agric Resour Econ. 2009;53(4):527–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Vatn A, Bromley DW. Choices without prices without apologies. J Environ Econ Manag. 1994;26(2):129–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wattage P, Mardle S. Total economic value of wetland conservation in Sri Lanka identifying use and non-use values. J Wetl Ecol Manag. 2008;256(8):1517–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wetlands International South AsiaNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations