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Indirect use values (public goods or nonconsumptive use value)
-products that are not harvested
- Constanza et al. 1997 estimate that ecosystem services are worth about
33 trillion per year.
5.1 Ecosystem services are necessary for human well-being
Data from Constanza et al. 1997
Several types ecosystem services associated with biodiversity:
1) ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestration
-photosynthesis in some bacteria, algae, and plants
-biodiversity is important in productivity as demonstrated by Tilman et
al. (1999).
Tilman’s experiment:
5.2 Varying numbers of prairie plant species grown in experimental plots in Minnesota & Germany
5.3 Logging and road construction on steep slopes leads to massive soil erosion and landslides
2) protecting water and soil resources
-biological communities slow erosion
and increase the absorption and
retention of moisture Ex. Tennessee flood in 2010
Box 5.1 Loss of coastal wetlands from 1932 to 2000 (shown in white) has been severe in the
southern Louisiana area--------------- Read Box 5.1
3) climate regulation
-biodiversity moderates local, regional, and probably global climate
4) waste treatment and nutrient retention
Ex. New York Bight is a 2000 square mile bay at the mouth of the Hudson
River that provides free sewage disposal for millions New Yorkers. In
1970s the bay became so polluted because of increased sewage due to city
growth that NYC had to install waste treatment plants in 1987 that cost
billions of dollars
-if waste has to be stored in other areas because nature cannot take care of it,
people often have the NIMBY philosophy (not in my back yard)
5.4 Presence of different mycorrhizal fungi greatly enhances growth and health of tree seedlings
5) species relationships=symbiosis
-food webs, pollination, fruit dispersal,
decomposers, and nitrogen fixing bacteria.
How much are Texas bats worth? Read Box 2.
Food web-bats eating caterpillars that eat vegetables
Figure 5.5 Nitrogen fixation in legumes by Rhizobium.
5.1 Wildlife is used in a variety of consumptive and nonconsumptive ways
6) recreation and ecotourism
5.6 Ecotourism can provide justification for protecting biological diversity and other benefits
African wild dogs
In a South African
park are an important
tourist attraction
5.8 In developing countries, facilities for ecotourists sometimes create a fantasyland
7) environmental monitors
-bryophytes, algae, lichens, and mollusks are extremely sensitive to pollutants
8) Educational and scientific value
-books, television programs, movies based on natural themes
-natural history materials as a part of school curricula
What is the value of biological diversity?
1. Direct use value (private goods, commodity values)
-products harvested by people
2 categories:
a. consumptive use value
-products consumed locally
b. productive use value
-products sold in non-local markets
2. Indirect use values (public goods or nonconsumptive use value) -products
that are not harvested
3. option value
-future products that may benefit humans
4. existence value -amount people are willing to pay to insure the existence of
option value
-future products that may benefit humans
Might include the following:
1) Using genes from wild relatives to improve crops and domestic animals
2) Biological control agents
-introduced prickly pear cactus in Australia controlled by moth from
South America that naturally feeds on cactus
3) Bioprospecting –collecting biological materials as a part of a search for
new products
Ex. GlaxoSmithKline Corporation signed a contract with the Brazilian
government worth three million to screen 40,000 plants, fungi, and
bacteria from Brazil for their effectiveness against AIDS and cancer
When biota are collected illegally in countries, this is called biopiracy
Ex. Bioprospecting in China led to a new ornamental tree and a medicine
that improves circulation
5.10 (A) Ginkgo trees are preserved in the wild in China and grown as ornamental trees; (B)
Because of the valuable medicines made from their leaves, ginkgo trees are cultivated as a crop
Aldo Leopold
“If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not
understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To
keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
existence value
-amount people are willing to pay to insure the existence of biodiversity
-charismatic megafauna such as pandas, whales, lions, elephants, bison,
manatees, and many birds Fig. 5.10
-billions of dollars of contributions to environmental organizations with
Nature Conservancy ($871 million in 2013), World Wildlife Fund ($245
million), Ducks Unlimited ($184 million), and Sierra Club ($98million)
topping the list in fund raising
-US government has spent millions to protect birds like the brown pelican,
California condor, and the bald eagle Fig. 5.11
5.10 For many people, the existence value of charismatic species is clear
5.11 The bald eagle is a symbol of the United States and many are willing to pay for its existence