The insurance value of biodiversity in the provision of ecosystem services

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Biodiversity provides insurance against the uncertain provision of ecosystem services which are being used by risk-averse economic agents. I present a conceptual ecological-economic model that combines (i) current results from ecology about the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and the provision of ecosystem services with (ii) economic methods to study decision-making under uncertainty. In this framework I (1) determine the insurance value of biodiversity, (2) study the optimal allocation of funds in the trade-off between investing into biodiversity protection and the purchase of financial insurance, and (3) analyze the effect of different institutional regimes in the market for financial insurance on biodiversity protection. I conclude that biodiversity acts as a form of natural insurance for risk-averse ecosystem managers against the over- or under-provision with ecosystem services. Therefore, biodiversity has an insurance value, which is a value component in addition to the usual value arguments, such as direct or indirect use or non-use values. In this respect, biodiversity and financial insurance are substitutes. Hence, the availability, and exact institutional design, of financial insurance influence the level of biodiversity protection.

ZeitschriftNatural Resource Modeling
Seiten (von - bis)87-127
Anzahl der Seiten41
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 03.2007