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Ecosystem Services and Environmental Economics

by: Carina Sauter

Ecosystem Services and Environmental Economics Ecology 1000

Marketplace > University of Georgia > Ecology > Ecology 1000 > Ecosystem Services and Environmental Economics
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These notes cover the lecture discussing the many resources we, as humans, exploit from our environment and the ecosystems we put at risk.
Introduction to Environmental Issues
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Wednesday August 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Ecology 1000 at University of Georgia taught by Connelly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Environmental Issues in Ecology at University of Georgia.

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Date Created: 08/24/16
Ecosystem Services and Environmental Economics (continued) • The welfare of humans depends on maintaining ecological system functions o Ecosystem services: conditions and processes of natural ecosystems and species that provide some human value § Ex. pollination by bees or wind § Things we get from nature § Future generations won’t have to pay too much for us if we use these services to the best capacity o What should be a human goal? § Sustain current resource yields and minimize negative impacts resulting from management, extraction, and use of resources • Hydrologic Station in Cowetta, NC o Diverse forested habitats produce: § More water – trees prevent evaporation § Cleaner water – healthy soils act as filters § More biomass – better growth and plant material § Less CO2 – plants take it up through photosynthesis § More O2 – plants produce it through photosynthesis • Robert Costanza o Added up what we get for free from the environment and compared it to the gross product of the world o 1996: § Global GNP - $18 trillion § Ecosystem services - $33 trillion o 2016: § same ration, different amounts (inflation) o we literally can’t afford to destroy the world • Ecosystem services of honey bees o Pollination § Farms rent bee hives to come in and pollinate their vegetation; totally dependent § Huge industry o Colony Collapse Disorder § Worker bees leave and pollinate, but don’t come back – the hive can’t survive without the worker bees o Downfalls of honey bee decline § Billions of dollars in pollination to crops § Honey production declines § Agriculture is dependent on pollination •Apples, soybeans, cotton, oranges, peaches, etc. •Prices increase • Aral Sea o 1960’s: 4 largest land-locked sea in the world o Dammed rivers leading to sea to irrigate land for crops § Water complete evaporated and water table was destroyed § Now a desert § Could completely disappear by 2020 o Bigger implications: § Coastal citizens relied on fishing •Fishing industry tanked § Health •Salt concentrations increasing o Dried remains cause illness o Diseases with breathing o Salt collects on skin and tongue from wind and into lungs •Concentration of toxins increase disease •Tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, etc. § Drinking water quality declining •Pollution and pesticides contaminate water o International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea § Will the return of water be enough to save what has already been lost and reverse the problem? § Eco-system has been destroyed • Lake Victoria and the Nile Perch o Home of extremely rare and unique fish o Wanted to bring in bigger fish for tourism and a greater fishing industry § The Nile perch was introduced to the lake in the 1950’s o Cichlids made up 80% of biomass until the 1970’s and eventually 1980 when it made only 1% of the biomass § Huge 200 lb. fish eating small, unique fish o Local fisherman pushed out by large commercial operations § Large corporations with industrious, big boats to catch large fish take over small fishermen o De-forestation § Small fish needed to be placed in sun and dried out whereas Nile perch must be spoked with fire to export § Tree clearing for firewood § Now local fisherman can’t even turn to farming • Bycatch: non target species that get captured and discarded, often after they are dead o Worldwide fisheries discard 25% of their catch o For every pound of shrimp caught in a trawl net, and average of 2 – 10 pounds of other marine life is caught and discarded o Turtle Excluder Device (TEDS) § Worth the cost? § Fishermen must buy a new net, lose some fish in the process § Forced to charge more for product because of extra costs •Some companies tell the consumer why it’s more expensive o Ex. Bumble bee tuna: “dolphin free” •It is up to the consumer what they want to buy •We must try to educate the public • Environmental Economics o Why do mainstream economics support some business practices which are not sustainable? § Because mainstream economics DO NOT account for all costs § Interface Carpet has internal costs associated with material for carpet production, such as the cost of the materials. But what about: •Environmental costs with drilling for oil needed to produce carpet? •Costs associated with cleaning up the pollution? o External Costs: Externalities § The costs that businesses do not directly pay, and therefore are not reflected in the price the consumers pay for the product § Ex. carpet company needs oil for machines, oil spills in ocean à carpet company does not pay for the clean up § Ex. farmer sprays pesticides to help plant growth •Kills pests and consumer buys product •BUT: o Killing honey bees o Pesticides travel in air and hurt humans o Air pollution from gas o Tires he eventually throws out o Arsenic from break pads o Hurting habitat • Sequoia National Forest o Recognize that we wanted to protect it o Economic decision: how much could you make off of a single tree vs. wow, this is amazing • Total Economic Value: o Use Value: § Direct Use Value: resources used directly •Provisioning services (water, fish) § Indirect Use Value: resources used indirectly •Regulating services (flood prevention, water purification) •Villagers in India planted over 80 thousand mangrove saplings to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, which created a kilometer-wide belt of trees; ended up helping with flood control after a tsunami hit o Nonuse Value: § Bequest Value: future generations possible use •All services (including supporting services) •Do we owe future generations the resources and conditions to exist? § Existence Value: right of existence •Supporting services (pandas, blue whales, wild eagles, uninhabited lands) o Option Value: our future possible use § Medicine and drugs •25% of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from nature •Ex. Epipedobates frog from Ecuador contains a natural pain killer in its skin, working better than morphine (non-addictive), which we have been working on to perfect • Sustainable development: meet present needs without preventing future generations from meeting their needs


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