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Title: Biodiversity protection: measurement of output
Author: Cullen, Ross
Date: 1999
Publisher: Australian Agricultultural and Resource Economics Society.
Citation: Cullen, R. (1999). Biodiversity protection: measurement of output. Australian Agricultultural and Resource Economics Society Conference, 20-22 January, Christchurch, N.Z.
Item Type: Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Abstract: The term biodiversity conservation can be applied to efforts to conserve genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. This paper focuses on efforts to conserve species and ecosystem diversity. Efforts to reduce, or halt this rapid loss of species and ecosystems involve significant costs. Environment Department staff of the World Bank report that in Africa alone it has financed or managed for the Global Environmental Facility, 118 projects with biodiversity elements worth US $1.8 billion World Bank (1998). In New Zealand, 1997/98 expenditures on ecological management accounted for $72.5 million or 46.8% of the Department of Conservation budget Department of Conservation (1998a). These expenditures are argued to be insufficient to stem the losses of biodiversity. Globally, extrapolation of loss rates to numbers of species currently at risk, suggests that biodiversity losses will climb to 200-1500 times the background level and wipe out all currently threatened species (Pimm et al 1995 quoted in Ministry for the Environment 1997). The New Zealand Department of Conservation (1998a) judge that .. , "[w]hile there is a lack of detailed information .. , current conservation efforts are insufficient to stem the decline in the health of indigenous biodiversity on the publicly conserved estate." Annual expenditures on possum and feral goat control are only sufficient to cover two thirds and half respectively of the areas necessary to provide sustainable control of those pests Department of Conservation (1998a). The Draft Biodiversity Strategy released on 20 January 1999 outlines proposals to halt the decline of indigenous New Zealand biodiversity. The NPV of the proposed expenditures over 20 years is $412 million MFE/DOC (1999). Halting biodiversity decline will be costly. Because resources available for biodiversity protection are limited, economic efficiency questions are asked about biodiversity protection projects and programmes. A US ecologist Dr Jared Diamond, has offered high praise for some aspects of New Zealand's conservation management ... "The contributions of New Zealand's conservation biologists [have provided] the most imaginative and cost-effective conservation programme in the world" (Diamond 1990). Surprisingly little research appears to exist documenting the performance or the cost effectiveness of conservation programmes. But the quotations above illustrate that despite problems of data availability, judgments are made on the contribution and merit of biodiversity protection activities. Given the issue faced both nationally and globally - declining health of indigenous biodiversity - and recognizing the facts of resource constraints, and costly protection programmes, evaluation of efforts at biodiversity protection activities is essential. This paper reviews the methodologies available to judge the success and merit of biodiversity protection actions, briefly reviews the empirical work completed to date, and provides recommendations on directions for further development.
Description: Presentation (Plenary address) at the 43rd Australian Agricultultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) Conference 20-22 January 1999 Christchurch, N.Z.
Persistent URL (URI):
Rights: Copyright © The Author.
Appears in Collections:Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance

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