Abstract and Figures

Since the late 1960s, the valuation of ecosystem services has received ample attention in scientific literature. However, to date, there has been relatively little elaboration of the various spatial and temporal scales at which ecosystem services are supplied. This paper analyzes the spatial scales of ecosystem services, and it examines how stakeholders at different spatial scales attach different values to ecosystem services. The paper first establishes an enhanced framework for the valuation of ecosystem services, with specific attention for stakeholders. The framework includes a procedure to assess the value of regulation services that avoids double counting of these services. Subsequently, the paper analyses the spatial scales of ecosystem services: the ecological scales at which ecosystem services are generated, and the institutional scales at which stakeholders benefit from ecosystem services. On the basis of the proposed valuation framework, we value four selected ecosystem services supplied by the De Wieden wetlands in The Netherlands, and we analyze how these services accrue to stakeholders at different institutional scales. These services are the provision of reed for cutting, the provision of fish, recreation, and nature conservation. In the De Wieden wetland, reed cutting and fisheries are only important at the municipal scale, recreation is most relevant at the municipal and provincial scale, and nature conservation is important in particular at the national and international level. Our analysis shows that stakeholders at different spatial scales can have very different interests in ecosystem services, and we argue that it is highly important to consider the scales of ecosystem services when valuation of services is applied to support the formulation or implementation of ecosystem management plans.
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ANALYSIS
Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services
Lars Hein
a,
*, Kris van Koppen
b
, Rudolf S. de Groot
a
, Ekko C. van Ierland
c
a
Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8080, 6700 DD, Wageningen, The Netherlands
b
Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
c
Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Received 2 December 2003; received in revised form 11 March 2005; accepted 14 April 2005
Available online 13 June 2005
Abstract
Since the late 1960s, the valuation of ecosystem services has received ample attention in scientific literature. However, to
date, there has been relatively little elaboration of the various spatial and temporal scales at which ecosystem services are
supplied. This paper analyzes the spatial scales of ecosystem services, and it examines how stakeholders at different spatial
scales attach different values to ecosystem services. The paper first establishes an enhanced framework for the valuation of
ecosystem services, with specific attention for stakeholders. The framework includes a procedure to assess the value of
regulation services that avoids double counting of these services. Subsequently, the paper analyses the spatial scales of
ecosystem services: the ecological scales at which ecosystem services are generated, and the institutional scales at which
stakeholders benefit from ecosystem services. On the basis of the proposed valuation framework, we value four selected
ecosystem services supplied by the De Wieden wetlands in The Netherlands, and we analyze how these services accrue to
stakeholders at different institutional scales. These services are the provision of reed for cutting, the provision of fish, recreation,
and nature conservation. In the De Wieden wetland, reed cutting and fisheries are only important at the municipal scale,
recreation is most relevant at the municipal and provincial scale, and nature conservation is important in particular at the
national and international level. Our analysis shows that stakeholders at different spatial scales can have very different interests
in ecosystem services, and we argue that it is highly important to consider the scales of ecosystem services when valuation of
services is applied to support the formulation or implementation of ecosystem management plans.
D2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Ecosystem services; Valuation; Spatial scales; Stakeholders; Wetlands
1. Introduction
Starting in the late 1960s, there has been a growing
interest in the analysis and valuation of the multiple
benefits provided by ecosystems. This interest was
triggered by an increasing awareness that the benefits
provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems were
0921-8009/$ - see front matter D2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.04.005
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +31 317 482993; fax: +31 317
484839.
E-mail address: lars.hein@wur.nl (L. Hein).
Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209 – 228
www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon
often underestimated in decision making (Helliwell,
1969; Odum and Odum, 1972). Since then, economic
valuation of ecosystems has received much attention
in scientific literature. Methodologies for the valua-
tion of ecosystem services have been developed by,
among others, Dixon and Hufschmidt (1986),Pearce
and Turner (1990),Freeman (1993), and Hanley and
Spash (1993), whereas the value of the services of a
particular ecosystem has been assessed by, for exam-
ple, Ruitenbeek (1994),Kramer et al. (1995) and Va n
Beukering et al. (2003). In addition, several studies
have provided frameworks for the valuation of eco-
system services (Costanza et al., 1997; Turner et al.,
2000; De Groot et al., 2002; Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment, 2003).
To date, relatively little elaboration of the scales
of ecosystem services has taken place (Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment, 2003; Turner et al., 2003).
Ecosystem services are supplied at various spatial
and temporal scales, which has a strong impact on
the value different stakeholders attach to the ser-
vices. Analyzing scales is important in order to
reveal the interests of different stakeholders in eco-
system management. It can also be used as a basis
for establishing compensation payments to local
stakeholders that face opportunity costs of ecosys-
tem conservation (Tacconi, 2000). In addition, it
provides insight in the appropriate institutional
scales for decision making on ecosystem manage-
ment. This is highly relevant in the context of The
Netherlands, where the national government is cur-
rently considering decentralization of the responsi-
bilities for the management of nature reserves
(VROM, 2004). Hence, there is a need to examine
the various scales at which ecosystem services are
generated and used, and, subsequently, how the
supply of ecosystem services affects the interests
of stakeholders at different scales (Tacconi, 2000;
Turner et al., 2000, 2003; Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment, 2003).
Therefore, in this paper, we analyze the spatial
scales at which ecosystem services are supplied, and
the implications of these scales for the values attached
to ecosystem services by different stakeholders. For a
discussion of the temporal scales, the reader is re-
ferred to, for example, Howarth and Norgaard (1993)
and Hanley (1999). On the basis of existing literature,
we first present a consistent framework for the valu-
ation of ecosystem services, specifically considering
the issue of double counting of services—one of the
remaining issues in ecosystem valuation (De Groot et
al., 2002; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2003).
The framework consists of four steps, and reflects
current thinking on ecosystem services valuation.
Subsequently, we assess the spatial scales at which
ecosystem services are supplied. Based upon this
assessment, we propose to extend the framework
with a fifth step, dealing with scales and stakeholders,
in order to enhance the applicability of ecosystem
services valuation for decision making. To illustrate
the expanded framework, as well as the relevance of
spatial scales, a case study is presented. The case
study includes a valuation of the ecosystem services
supplied by the De Wieden wetland in The Nether-
lands, and an assessment of the scales at which these
services are delivered. The De Wieden case study is
based upon fieldwork, in which quantitative informa-
tion on visitor numbers has been collected, and inter-
views with all major stakeholders of the area,
conducted in the period January–September 2003.
The paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, a
basic framework for the assessment of ecosystem
services is established. In Section 3, the spatial scales
of ecosystem services are analyzed and an extension
of the framework is proposed. In Section 4, the frame-
work is applied to the De Wieden wetland. This is
followed by a discussion of the overall implications of
spatial scales for ecosystem management in Section 5.
Section 6 summarizes the main conclusions of the
paper.
2. The ecosystem services valuation framework
Based upon a literature review, this section estab-
lishes a framework for the valuation of ecosystem
services. The framework includes three types of ser-
vices and four types of value, and is based upon
Pearce and Turner (1990),Costanza et al. (1997),
De Groot et al. (2002) and Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment (2003). The framework is presented in
Fig. 1. It is applicable to all ecosystems, but it will in
general be more useful to apply it to natural or semi-
natural (modified) ecosystems. This because of the
specific attention paid to the goods and services pro-
vided by the regulation and cultural services, which
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228210
are often higher in natural and semi-natural systems
(Pearce and Turner, 1990; De Groot, 1992; Costanza
et al., 1997).
Following this framework, valuation of ecosys-
tem services consists of four steps: (i) specification
of the boundaries of the ecosystem to be valued;
(ii) assessment of the ecosystem services supplied
by the system; (iii) valuation of the ecosystem
services; and (iv) aggregation or comparison of
the values of the services. These steps are discussed
below.
2.1. Specification of the boundaries of the ecosystem
to be valued (step 1)
Valuation (as any other analysis) requires that the
object of the valuation is clearly defined. The Con-
vention on Biological Diversity provided the follow-
ing definition of an ecosystem ba dynamic complex of
plant, animal and micro-organism communities and
their nonliving environment interacting as a functional
unitQ(United Nations, 1992). However, we argue that
aspatial definition is required to describe the ecosys-
tem to be valued, and we use the following definition
of an ecosystem: dthe individuals, species and popula-
tions in a spatially defined area, the interactions
among them, and those between the organisms and
the abiotic environmentT(Likens, 1992). The ecosys-
tem to be valued may contain a number of different
(sub-)ecosystems.
2.2. Assessment of the services supplied by the
ecosystem (step 2)
Ecosystem services are the goods or services
provided by the ecosystem to society, and provide
the basis for the valuation of the ecosystem. The
supply of ecosystem services will often be variable
over time, and, where relevant, both actual and
potential future supplies of services have to be in-
cluded in the valuation (Drepper and Ma˚nsson, 1993;
Barbier, 2000; Ma¨ler, 2000). We propose to distin-
guish three different categories of ecosystem ser-
vices: dproduction services,Tdregulation servicesT
and dcultural services,Tbased upon De Groot et al.
(2002) and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
(2003).Table 1 presents the three categories, as
well as an overview of the various ecosystem ser-
vices in each category.
Contrary to the Millennium Ecosystem Assess-
ment (2003), we do not distinguish the category
dsupporting services,Twhich represents the ecologi-
cal processes that underlie the functioning of the
ecosystem. Their inclusion in valuation may lead to
double counting—their value is reflected in the
other three types of services. In addition, there
are a very large number of ecological processes
that underlie the functioning of ecosystems, and it
is unclear on which basis supporting services
should be included in, or excluded from a valuation
study.
Step 2. Assessment of ecosystem
services in bio-physical terms
Step 3. Valuation using monetary, or
other, indicators
Step 4. Aggregation or comparison
of the different values
Step 1. Specification of the boundaries
of the system to be valued
Production services Regulation services Cultural services
Direct use values Indirect use values Option values Non-use values
Ecosystem
Total value
Fig. 1. The ecosystem valuation framework. The solid arrows represent the most important links between the elements of the framework. The
dashed arrows indicate the four principal steps in the valuation of ecosystem services.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 211
Before the services can be valued, they have to
be assessed in bio-physical terms. For production
services, this involves the quantification of the flows
of goods harvested in the ecosystem, in a physical
unit. For most regulation services, quantification
requires spatially explicit analysis of the bio-physi-
cal impact of the service on the environment in or
surrounding the ecosystem. For example, valuation
of the hydrological service of a forest first requires
an assessment of the precise impact of the forest on
the water flow downstream, including such aspects
as the reduction of peak flows, and the increase in
dry season water supply (Bosch and Hewitt, 1982).
The reduction of peak flows and flood risks is only
relevant in a specific zone around the river bed,
which needs to be (spatially) defined before the
service can be valued. An example of a regulation
service that does usually not require spatially ex-
plicit assessment prior to valuation is the carbon
sequestration service—the value of the carbon stor-
age does not depend upon where it is sequestered.
Cultural services depend upon a human interpreta-
tion of the ecosystem, or of specific characteristics
of the ecosystem. They have also been named
dinformation services,Tas in De Groot et al.
(2002). The benefits people obtain from cultural
services depend upon experiences during actual vis-
its to the area, indirect experiences derived from an
ecosystem (e.g., through nature movies), and more
abstract cultural and moral considerations (see, e.g.,
Aldred, 1994). Assessment of cultural services
requires assessment of the numbers of people
Table 1
List of ecosystem services (based upon Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1981; Costanza et al., 1997; De Groot et al., 2002; Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment, 2003)
Category Definition Examples of goods and services provided
Production services Production services reflect goods and services produced
in the ecosystem.
Provision of:
–Food
–Fodder (including grass from pastures)
–Fuel (including wood and dung)
–Timber, fibers and other raw materials
–Biochemical and medicinal resources
–Genetic resources
–Ornamentals
Regulation services Regulation services result from the capacity of
ecosystems to regulate climate, hydrological and
bio-chemical cycles, earth surface processes, and a
variety of biological processes.
–Carbon sequestration
–Climate regulation through regulation of albedo,
temperature and rainfall patterns
–Regulation of the timing and volume of river and
ground water flows
–Protection against floods by coastal or riparian systems
–Regulation of erosion and sedimentation
–Regulation of species reproduction (nursery function)
–Breakdown of excess nutrients and pollution
–Pollination
–Regulation of pests and pathogens
–Protection against storms
–Protection against noise and dust
–Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF)
Cultural services Cultural services relate to the benefits people
obtain from ecosystems through recreation, cognitive
development, relaxation, and spiritual reflection.
–Nature and biodiversity (provision of a habitat for wild
plant and animal species)
–Provision of cultural, historical and religious heritage
(e.g., a historical landscape or a sacred forests)
–Provision of scientific and educational information
–Provision of opportunities for recreation and tourism
–Provision of attractive landscape features enhancing
housing and living conditions (amenity service)
–Provision of other information (e.g., cultural or artistic
inspiration)
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228212
benefiting from the service, and the type of interac-
tion they have with the ecosystem involved.
2.3. Valuation of the ecosystem services (step 3)
The values that are attributed to ecosystem services
depend upon the stakeholders benefiting from these
services. The classic definition of a stakeholder is
bany group or individual who can affect or is affected
by the achievement of the organization’s objectiveQ
(Freeman, 1984). For ecosystem valuation, we modify
this definition into bany group or individual who can
affect or is affected by the ecosystem’s services.QThe
value of ecosystem services depends upon the views
and needs of stakeholders (Vermeulen and Koziell,
2002), and there is a mutual and dynamic relationship
between ecosystem services and stakeholders. The
services supplied by an ecosystem determine the rel-
evant stakeholders, and the stakeholders determine
relevant ecosystem services. The four value types
that stakeholders can attribute to ecosystem services
are discussed below.
(i) Direct use values. Direct use values arise from
human direct utilization of ecosystems (Pearce
and Turner, 1990), for example, through the sale
or consumption of a piece of fruit. All produc-
tion services, and some cultural services (such
as recreation) have direct use value.
(ii) Indirect use values. Indirect use values stem
from the indirect utilization of ecosystems, in
particular through the positive externalities that
ecosystems provide (Munasinghe and Schwab,
1993). This reflects the type of benefits that
regulation services provide to society.
(iii) Option values. Because people are unsure about
their future demand for a service, they are wil-
ling to pay to keep open the option of using a
resource in the future—insofar as they are, to
some extent, risk averse (Weisbrod, 1964;
Pearce and Turner, 1990). Option values may
be attributed to all services supplied by an eco-
system. Various authors also distinguish quasi-
option value (e.g., Hanley and Spash, 1993),
which represents the value of avoiding irrevers-
ible decisions until new information reveals
whether certain ecosystems have values we are
not currently aware of. Although theoretically
correct, the quasi-option value is in practice
very difficult to assess (Turner et al., 2000).
(iv) None-use values. Non-use values are derived
from attributes inherent to the ecosystem itself
(Cummings and Harrison, 1995; Van Koppen,
2000). Hargrove (1989) has pointed out that
non-use values can be anthropocentric, as in
the case of natural beauty, as well as eco-
centric, e.g., related to the notion that animal
and plant species may have a certain dright to
exist.TKolstad (2000) distinguishes three
types of non-use value: existence value
(based on utility derived from knowing that
something exists), altruistic value (based on
utility derived from knowing that somebody
else benefits) and bequest value (based on
utility gained from future improvements in
the well-being of one’s descendants). The dif-
ferent categories of non-use value are often
difficult to separate, both conceptually (Wei-
kard, 2002) and empirically (Kolstad, 2000).
Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that
there are different motives to attach non-use
value to an ecosystem service, and that these
motives depend upon the moral, aesthetic and
other cultural perspectives of the stakeholders
involved.
Applicable valuation methods differ for private
and public services. The marginal value of private
goods can generally be derived from market prices,
whereas marginal values of public goods have to be
established using non-market valuation techniques.
These include dstated preferenceTapproaches,
such as the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM)
and related methods, and drevealed preferenceT
approaches. Revealed preference techniques use a
link with a market good or service to indicate the
willingness-to-pay for the service. Valuation of non-
use values is particularly cumbersome. Different
authors have tried to express them in monetary
values (see Nunes and van den Bergh, 2001)or
non-monetary indicators (Wathern et al., 1986; Mar-
gules and Usher, 1981). For details on valuation
techniques, see Dixon and Hufschmidt (1986),
Pearce and Turner (1990),Hanley and Spash
(1993),Pearce and Moran (1994),Willis and Gar-
rod (1995),andBrouwer et al. (1997).
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 213
2.4. Aggregation or comparison of the values (step 4)
In principle, the four value types are exclusive and
may be added. The sum of the direct use, indirect use
and option values equals the total use value of the
system; the sum of the use value and the non-use
value is the total value of the ecosystem (Pearce and
Turner, 1990). If all values have been expressed as a
monetary value, and if the values are expressed
through comparable indicators (e.g., consumer and/
or producer surplus), the values can be summed. If
non-monetary indicators are used for the non-use
values, the values can be presented side-by-side—
leaving it to the reader to compare the two value
types (as in Strijker et al., 2000). Alternatively, they
can be compared using Multi Criteria Assessment
(MCA). With MCA, stakeholders can be asked to
assign relative weights to different sets of indicators
(non-monetary as well as monetary), enabling com-
parison of the indicators (Nijkamp and Spronk, 1979;
Costanza and Folke, 1997). Different stakeholder
groups can be expected to have different perspectives
on the importance of the different types of value
(Vermeulen and Koziell, 2002). Through group valu-
ation, or the use of deliberative processes, stake-
holders can be encouraged to converge to a
representative assessment of the values of different
ecosystem services (O’Neill, 2001).
An important issue in the valuation of ecosystem
services is the double counting of services (Millenni-
um Ecosystem Assessment, 2003; Turner et al., 2003).
The various processes involved in the regulation ser-
vices are paramount to the functioning of ecosystems,
and in that sense underlie many other services. How-
ever, including both the regulation and these other
services in the assessment of the total value of an
ecosystem may lead to double counting. For example,
pollination is crucial to sustaining the fruit production
of an area. Including both the pollination service and
the service dproduction of fruitTwould lead to double
counting—the value of the pollination of fruit trees is
already included in the value of the fruits. In this
paper, it is proposed to deal with double counting
by arguing that regulation services should only be
included in the valuation if (i) they have an impact
outside the ecosystem to be valued; and/or (ii) if they
provide a direct benefit to people living in the area
(i.e., not through sustaining or improving another
service). In the first case, it is the spatial configura-
tion, and the interactions with ecosystems or society
outside the studied system, that determine the value of
the service. For example, if an ecosystem is support-
ing a population of bees that plays an important role in
the pollination of crops in adjacent fields, this should
be included in the valuation. Regulation services also
need to be included if they provide a direct benefit to
society. An example of a service that provides a direct
benefit is the service dprotection against noise and
dustTprovided by a green belt besides a highway. If
this affects the living conditions of people living
inside the study area, it needs to be included in the
valuation. Note that a prerequisite for applying this
approach to the valuation of regulation services is that
the ecosystem needs to be defined in terms of its
spatial boundaries—otherwise the external impacts
of the regulation services cannot be precisely defined.
3. Scales of ecosystem services
Scales refer to the physical dimension, in space or
time, of phenomena or observations (O’Neill and
King, 1998). Ecosystem services are supplied to the
economic system at a range of spatial and temporal
scales, varying from the short-term, site level (e.g.,
amenity services) to the long-term, global level (e.g.,
carbon sequestration) (Turner et al., 2000; Limburg et
al., 2002;). Scales and stakeholders are often correlat-
ed, as the scale at which the ecosystem service is
supplied determines which stakeholders may benefit
from it (Vermeulen and Koziell, 2002). This section
analyses (i) scales of ecosystems; (ii) scales of socio-
economic systems; and (iii) scales and stakeholders in
relation to ecosystem services. Subsequently, it pro-
poses a fifth step to be added to the valuation frame-
work described in the previous section, dealing with
the analysis of scales and stakeholders.
3.1. Scales of ecosystems
According to its original definition, ecosystems can
be defined at a wide range of spatial scales (Tansley,
1935). These range from the level of a small lake up to
the boreal forest ecosystem spanning several thou-
sands of kilometers. As it is usually required to define
the scale of a particular analysis, it has become com-
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228214
mon practice to distinguish a range of spatially de-
fined ecological scales (Holling, 1992; Levin, 1992).
They vary from the level of the individual plant, via
ecosystems and landscapes, to the global system—see
Fig. 2. In such a classification of ecological scales, it
is common to include the ecosystem itself as a par-
ticular scale, for example in terms of a dforest
ecosystemT.
The functioning of ecosystems depends upon
earth system processes that take place over a range
of spatial (and temporal) scales. This ranges from
competition between individual plants at the plot
level, via meso-scale processes such as fire and
insect outbreaks, to climatic and geomorphologic
processes at the largest spatial and temporal scales
(Clark et al., 1979; Holling et al., 2002). In general,
large-scale, long-period phenomena set physical con-
straints on smaller scale, shorter period ones (Lim-
burg et al., 2002). However, large-scale processes
may be driven by the joint impact of small-scale
processes (Levin, 1992). For example, microbes op-
erate on the scale of micrometers and minutes, but
their cumulative activity determines a larger scale
process such as the nutrient cycle, e.g., through
demineralization of organic material and nitrogen
fixation.
Ecosystem services are generated at all ecological
scales. For instance, fish may be supplied by a small
pond, or may be harvested in the Pacific Ocean.
Biological nitrogen fixation enhances soil fertility at
the ecological scale of the plant, whereas carbon
sequestration influences the climate at the global
scale.
3.2. Scales of socio-economic systems
In the socio-economic system, a hierarchy of insti-
tutions can be distinguished (Becker and Ostrom,
1995; O’Riordan et al., 1998). They reflect the differ-
ent levels at which decisions on the utilization of
capital, labor and natural resources are taken (North,
1990). At the lowest institutional level, this includes
individuals and households. At higher institutional
scales can be distinguished: the communal or munic-
ipal, state or provincial, national, and international
level (see Fig. 2). Many economic processes, such
as income creation, trade, and changes in market
conditions can be more readily observed at one or
more of these institutional scales (Limburg et al.,
2002).
The supply of ecosystem services affects stake-
holders at all institutional levels (Berkes and Folke,
1998; Peterson, 2000). Households, as well as local
or internationally operating firms, may directly de-
pend upon ecosystem services for their income
(e.g., fishermen, ecotourism operators). Government
agencies at different levels are involved in manag-
ing ecosystems, and in regulating the access to
ecosystem services. They may also receive income
from specific ecosystem services (park entrance
fees, hunting licenses). Ultimately, all individuals
depend upon the essential regulation (life-support)
services of ecosystems. Ecological and institutional
boundaries seldom coincide, and stakeholders in
ecosystem services often cut across a range of
institutional zones and scales (Cash and Moser,
1998).
Ecological scales Institutional scales
global international
biome national
landscape state/provincial
ecosystem municipal
plot family
plant individual
Human-ecosystem
interactions
Fig. 2. Selected ecological and institutional scales (adapted from Leemans, 2000).
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 215
3.3. Scales and stakeholders of ecosystem services
In the previous paragraphs, we argued that ecosys-
tem services can be generated at a range of ecological
scales, and can be supplied to stakeholders at a range
of institutional scales (see Fig. 2). We will now briefly
discuss this for the three categories of ecosystem
services distinguished in our framework.
(i) Production services. The possibility to harvest
products from natural or semi-natural ecosys-
tems depends upon the availability of the re-
source, or the stock of the product involved. To
analyze the ecological impacts of the resource
use, or the harvest levels that can be (sustain-
ably) supported, the appropriate scale of analy-
sis is the level of the ecosystem supplying the
service (e.g., the lake, or the Northern Atlantic
ocean) (Levin, 1992). The benefits of the re-
source may accumulate to stakeholders at a
range of institutional scales (Turner et al.,
2000). Local residents, if present, are often an
important actor in the harvest of the resources
involved, unless they do not have an interest in,
or access to the resource (e.g., due to a lack of
technology, or because the ownership or user-
right of the resource resides with other stake-
holders). In addition, there may be stakeholders’
interests at larger scales if the goods involved
are harvested, processed or consumed at larger
scales. For example, this is the case if a marine
ecosystem is fished by an international fleet, or
if a particular genetic material or medicinal
plants is processed and/or consumed at a larger
institutional scale (see, e.g., Blum, 1993).
(ii) Regulation services. A regulation service can
be interpreted as an ecological process that has
(actual or potential) economic value because it
has an economic impact outside the studied
ecosystem and/or if it provides a direct benefit
to people living in the area (see the previous
section). Because the ecological processes in-
volved take place at certain, ecological scales, it
is often possible to define the specific ecolog-
ical scale at which the regulation service is
generated (see Table 2). Note that, whereas
regulation services are typically generated at a
specific ecological scale, the benefits may
accrue to stakeholders at a range of institu-
tional scales. For many regulation services,
not only the scale, but also the position in
the landscape plays a role—for example, the
impact of the water buffering capacity of for-
ests will be noticed only downstream in the
same catchment (Bosch and Hewitt, 1982).
Stakeholders in a regulation service are all
people residing in or otherwise depending
upon the area affected by the service.
(iii) Cultural services. Cultural services may also
be supplied by ecosystems at different ecolog-
ical scales, such as a monumental tree or a
natural park. Stakeholders in cultural services
Table 2
Most relevant ecological scales for the regulation services—note that some services may be relevant at more than one scale
Ecological scale Dimensions (km
2
) Regulation services
Global N1,000,000 Carbon sequestration
Climate regulation through regulation of albedo, temperature and rainfall patterns
Biome–landscape 10,000–1000,000 Regulation of the timing and volume of river and ground water flows
Protection against floods by coastal or riparian ecosystems
Regulation of erosion and sedimentation
Regulation of species reproduction (nursery service)
Ecosystem 1–10,000 Breakdown of excess nutrients and pollution
Pollination (for most plants)
Regulation of pests and pathogens
Protection against storms
Plot–plant b1 Protection against noise and dust
Control of run-off
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF)
Based upon Hufschmidt et al. (1983),De Groot (1992),Kramer et al. (1995) and Van Beukering et al. (2003).
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228216
can vary from the individual to the global
scale. For local residents, an important cultural
service is commonly the enhancement of the
aesthetic, cultural, natural, and recreational
quality of their living environment. In addition,
in particular for indigenous people, ecosystems
may also be a place of rituals and a point of
reference in cultural narratives (Posey et al.,
1999; Infield, 2001). Nature tourism has be-
come a major cultural service in Western
countries, and it is progressively gaining im-
portance in developing countries as well. Be-
cause the value attached to the cultural services
depends on the cultural background of the
stakeholders involved, there may be very dif-
ferent perceptions of the value of cultural ser-
vices among stakeholders at different scales.
Local stakeholders may attach particular value
to local heritage cultural or amenity services,
whereas national and/or global stakeholders
may have a particular interest in the conserva-
tion of nature and biodiversity (e.g., Swanson,
1997; Terborgh, 1999).
3.4. Expanding the valuation framework: analysis of
scales and stakeholders (step 5)
In this section, we argue that, in order to apply
ecosystem services valuation to support decision
making on ecosystem management, it is necessary
to explicitly consider the scales at which ecosystem
services accrue to the different stakeholders. This
means that the ecosystem services valuation frame-
work described in Section 2 should be expanded
with a fifth step: d(v) Analysis of scales and
stakeholders.TAs explained above, services generated
at a particular ecological level can be provided to
stakeholders at a range of institutional scales, and
stakeholders at an institutional scale can receive eco-
system services generated at a range of ecological
scales. Note that, of course, there will often be differ-
ent stakeholders at each institutional level. In this
case, stakeholder analysis needs to be applied to
identify the interests of heterogeneous stakeholder
groups (see, e.g., Grimble and Wellard, 1997; De
Marchi et al., 2000; Kasemir et al., 2003). Often,
ecosystem services are generated, and supplied at
particular scales. Analysis of the value of an ecosys-
tem at different spatial scales requires assessing at
which scale, and to whom the benefits of the system’s
services accrue.
As an example, consider the case of a South-
Asian mangrove forest that provides the following
services: (i) provision of wood and shellfish; (ii)
protection from floods; (iii) nursery service for a
range of fish species; and (iv) the conservation of
biodiversity (Hein, 2002). The provision of wood
and shellfish is most relevant at the municipal
scale, as the large majority of wood and shellfish
is used locally. The two regulation services,
dprotection from floodsTand the dnursery serviceT
are generated at the scale of the ecosystem, but
they are provided to stakeholders at a range of
institutional scales, from the municipality up to the
national scale. The conservation of biodiversity is
most relevant to stakeholders at the national and
international scale. The interests of stakeholders at
these scales vary accordingly. Whereas, in general,
local residents prefer management that allows the
collection of wood and shellfish while maintaining
the regulation services, international stakeholders are
mostly worried about the global loss of mangrove
forest and the associated loss of biodiversity (e.g.,
Alongi, 2002). As, in a global context, ecosystems as
well as institutional settings are highly diverse (e.g.,
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2003), relevant
scales need to be identified on a case by case basis.
Fig. 2 above presents the potential relevant scales
and interactions, and can be instrumental in such
analysis.
Assessment of scales and stakeholders enhances the
applicability of ecosystem services valuation to sup-
port decision making. Identification of scales and sta-
keholders allows the analysis of potential conflicts in
environmental management, in particular between
local stakeholders and stakeholders at larger scales.
This applies if services relevant at higher scales restrict
the use of local production services. For instance,
maintaining the hydrological service of a forest in an
upper watershed poses restrictions on the use of the
forest by local stakeholders (e.g., Bosch and Hewitt,
1982). Analysis of the (opportunity) costs and benefits
of ecosystem management for stakeholders at differ-
ent scales also provides a basis for determining the
size of potential compensation payments to local
users.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 217
4. Valuation of the ecosystem services of the De
Wieden wetland, and assessment of the scales at
which they are supplied
The spatial scales at which ecosystem services
are supplied are examined for the De Wieden
wetland in The Netherlands. Subsequently, we
analyze (i) the values of selected ecosystem ser-
vices supplied by De Wieden; and (ii) the scales
at which these ecosystem services are supplied to
stakeholders. As the main aim of this section is
to examine the scales of ecosystem services, rel-
atively simple valuation techniques have been
used.
4.1. Specification of the study area (step 1)
De Wieden is one of the most extensive low-
land peatlands in north-western Europe, and it
includes a large range of waterbodies of different
sizes (lakes, canals, marshlands), reedlands, exten-
sive agricultural land and forests. For this study, a
case study area has been selected that comprises
the central part of De Wieden, in total around
5200 ha. It includes the four biggest lakes and
the surrounding area (Fig. 3).
4.2. Assessment of ecosystem services (step 2)
Four ecosystem services have been selected for this
study: (i) the provision of reed for cutting; (ii) the
provision of fish (both production services); (iii) the
provision of opportunities for recreation; and (iv)
nature conservation (both cultural services). These
services have been selected in order to obtain a mix
of services important for stakeholders at different
levels, and because of the availability of data for
these four services. Two other ecosystem services of
the wetland that are not further considered in this
study are the amenity service and the water purifica-
tion service. The amenity service reflects that De
Wieden enhances the local living conditions by the
provision of an attractive environment. The service
accrues to local stakeholders. It is excluded because
the fisheries and recreation services also provide ben-
efits to local stakeholders, and data is more readily
available for these two services. The water purifica-
tion service is based upon the breakdown and absorp-
tion of pollutants in the wetland. The water
purification service is reflected in enhanced opportu-
nities for recreation and nature conservation, but, to
avoid double counting, this should not be included in
the valuation. The water purification service also leads
Fig. 3. Map and location of the study area.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228218
to the inflow of cleaner water in lake Ijsselmeer
downstream, which represents an economic value
generated by De Wieden. However, as only around
0.7% of the water that Lake Ijsselmeer receives flows
through De Wieden, the impact on the overall water
quality of the lake is likely to be modest and the
service is excluded from further analysis.
(i) Provision of reed (for cutting). The reed of De
Wieden has been cut since several centuries, and
is used mainly for thatched roofs. Reed cutting
is practiced on some 1400 ha (Natuurmonumen-
ten, 2000), and is locally an important industry,
employing around 220 people (De Bruin et al.,
2001). Harvests are in the order of 665 kg/ha/
year (De Bruin et al., 2001). Most of the reed
cutting is done in combination with farming
and/or fisheries, a suitable combination because
most of the reed cutting takes place in the period
October–March, and most farming and fishing
activities are conducted in the period April–
September.
(ii) Provision of fish. Professional fishermen fish
each of the four lakes of the case study area,
which comprise in total around 1600 ha open
water. There are in total 11 professional fisher-
men working in the area (Van Dijk, 2003). The
most important species is eel, which is fished
with hoop nets. Fishermen also collect the
whitefish that ends up in the nets, including
pike, perch pike, bream and roach, although
the prices of these fish are relatively low
(Klinge, 1999).
(iii) Recreation. De Wieden is an important area for
recreation, attracting visitors that come for short
holidays as well as day-trips. Visitors enjoy a
range of activities including boating, sailing,
hiking, fishing, canoeing, surfing, swimming
and sun-bathing (see Table 3). The authors of
this study have estimated the number of people
visiting the beaches for swimming and/or
sunbathing, and the number of recreational fish-
ermen. The visitors to the 9 (mostly small)
beaches in the case study area have been
counted during 10 sunny days spread over the
spring, summer and autumn of 2003. The aver-
age number of visitors for these days (447) has
been multiplied with the yearly average number
of warm (N25 8C) and sunny days (18), derived
from climate statistics (KNMI, 2003). Further-
more, it has been assumed that recreational
fisheries takes place on days without rain, dur-
ing the period 1 April–30 September (interviews
with fishermen showed that the large majority
did not fish during the cold winter season, or on
rainy days). The number of fishermen, as found
in surveys on 20 dry days in the selected period
(28) has been multiplied with the average num-
ber of days without rain in these 6 months (72)
(KNMI, 2003).
Benefits of the recreational opportunities of De
Wieden also accrue to the local companies
offering recreational services. These include
boat and canoe rental agencies, hotels, camping
sites, marinas, and bars and restaurants. Both
companies located in the study area, and com-
panies located in the immediate surroundings
of the study area benefit from the visitors to
De Wieden.
(iv) Nature conservation. De Wieden is highly im-
portant for biodiversity conservation. It provides
a habitat to a wide range of water- and meadow-
Table 3
Estimate of the number of people involved in various recreational
activities in De Wieden per year
Activity Number of
visitor-days
per year
Source
People visiting the
walking trails and
information center
(in 2002)
61,404 Natuurmonumenten, 2003a
Swimming/
sunbathing
8040 This study
Fishing 2050 This study
Boating
–Motorboats 82,165 Number of boats: PoO
(2001); number of people
per boat: Moonen (1992)
–Sailing boats N5 m 15,123 Number of boats: PoO
(2001); number of people
per boat: Moonen (1992)
–Speedboats, canoes 3674 Number of boats: PoO
(2001); number of people
per boat: Moonen (1992)
–Total boating 100,962
Total 172,456
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 219
birds, dragonflies, butterflies, fish, etc., and it
contains, together with the adjacent wetland dDe
Weerribben,Tthe world’s only population of a
large subspecies of the large copper butterfly
(Lyacena dispar). The otter, which became ex-
tinct in The Netherlands some 12 years ago, was
reintroduced to the area in June 2002. The area is
protected under national laws, is included in the
EU habitat and birds directives, and was recently
(November 2002) appointed a Ramsar site.
4.3. Valuation of the ecosystem services of De Wieden
(step 3)
On the basis of existing data, and limited surveys,
the four selected services have been valued in mone-
tary terms, using revealed preference methods. Due to
deficiencies in available data, different approaches
have been used to assess the value generated by the
four services, see Tab le 4 . For the two production
services, and for the benefits of the recreation service
accruing to the providers of recreation services (for
instance hotels, or boat rental agencies), the net value
added generated by the service is used as indicator of
its value. To assess the value for visitors to De Wie-
den, the consumer surplus is used, calculated with the
travel cost method. For the nature conservation ser-
vice, payments to the NGO protecting and managing
the site (bNatuurmonumentenQ) are used as an indica-
tion of the lower value of the willingness-to-pay of the
Dutch public for this service. A more detailed descrip-
tion of the valuation methodology applied to each
service is provided below.
Our calculations present a significant simplifica-
tion of the complex issue of ecosystem services val-
uation, involving the use of two conceptually different
indicators of value: consumers’ surplus and value
added. The two indicators compare as follows. On
the one hand, the surplus gained through the reed
production and fisheries service, and the provision
of recreational services, may be larger than indicated
through the respective values added because not all
utility gained by people working in these sectors will
be reflected in their income. For example, fishermen
may enjoy their profession and gain utility through the
fishing activities themselves. On the other hand, the
concept of value added does not account for the
shadow costs of labor and capital. This aspect, c.p. ,
causes the value added to be higher than the consumer
surplus. The use of two different indicators restricts
the possibilities to add the values of the services.
(i) Provision of reed. The total turn-over from the
reed cutting is around 800,000 euro, and the net
value added (taken as a proxy for the value of
the service) is around 480,000 euro (De Bruin et
al., 2001). It is assumed that an increase or
decrease in reed production in De Wieden can
be compensated by other producers without
changes in the price or quality of the product
on the market, and that the consumer surplus
resulting from reed production is zero.
(ii) Provision of fish. Total annual turnover of the
fishery sector is estimated to be only around
215,000 euro (Klinge, 1999; De Bruin et al.,
2001; Van Dijk, 2003). Investments are small,
and the value added is estimated at around
140,000 euro (De Bruin et al., 2001; Van Dijk,
2003). In comparison with the total eel fisheries
in The Netherlands, the contribution from De
Table 4
The approaches used to assess the surplus generated by each service
Stakeholder Calculation method Type of value indicator obtained
Reed cutters Net value added Income generated
Professional fishermen Net value added Income generated
Recreation service
–Value for visitors to De Wieden –Travel cost method –Consumer surplus
–Value for the providers of recreation services
(e.g. hotel owners, boat rental agencies)
–Net value added –Income generated
Nature conservationists Donations to the NGO
protecting the site
The donations are a lower value of the
willingness-to-pay for, and the consumers’
surplus generated by the service
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228220
Wieden is small; less than 1% of the Dutch
market is supplied by De Wieden (Klinge,
1999), As with reed cutting, it is assumed that
the consumer surplus generated by the fisheries
activities in De Wieden is zero.
(iii) Recreation. The value of the recreation service
is estimated by summing the utility gained by
visitors to the area and the net value added of
the local recreation sector—insofar as depen-
dent upon visitors to De Wieden. The utility
of tourists visiting the site is assessed with the
zonal travel cost method (Hanley and Spash,
1993). The demand function for the site is con-
structed on the basis of the visit rate per zone
and the travel costs from each zone. Six zones
have been defined at increasing distances from
De Wieden. The visit rates per zone have been
estimated on the basis of a survey among visi-
tors to the area by Van Konijnenburg (1996).
There are a lot of camping sites and holiday
houses in the area and, to avoid a bias in the
number of visitors per zone, only the travel
costs of people visiting from their permanent
residence were included (n= 304). For each
zone, the relative visit rates and the average
travel cost from the middle of the zone were
calculated (see Table 5). The travel costs include
the average transportation costs by car (euro
0.28/km), from Rietveld et al. (2000), and the
time costs, based upon the average per person
hourly wage rate, from CPB (2003).
Following standard procedures in the zonal tra-
vel cost method (Hanley and Spash, 1993), we
first analyzed the relation between travel costs
and visits per capita, using regression analysis.
We derived that, for De Wieden, the visit rate
depends upon the travel costs according to
the equation: visit rate = 0.133 e
0.244*costs
(F= 14). Subsequently, the demand function
for visits to the site has been constructed,
under the assumption that expenditure for an
entrance fee is viewed in the same way as travel
costs by the visitors. The first point on the
demand curve is the current amount of visitors
to the site (at the moment, there is no entry fee).
Subsequent points on the demand curve are
calculated for hypothetical entrance fees ranging
from 2.5 euro to 30 euro per visit (with steps of
2.5 euro). For the total travel and entrance costs
associated with these different fees, the
corresponding number of visitors to De Wieden
has been estimated using the equation for the
visit rate presented above in combination with
the total population in each zone (from Table 5).
The results are presented in Fig. 4. The area
under the demand curve, equaling the consu-
mers’ surplus, is around 880,000 euro (which
equals around 5 euro per visit).
The value added generated by the recreation
sector is calculated as follows. The total turn-
over of the recreation sector, as generated by
visitors to De Wieden, is calculated by multi-
plying the number of visitors to De Wieden with
their average expenditure. Visitors to the munic-
ipality (Steenwijkerland) spend, on average,
euro 21.10 per day (TRN, 2002), and there are
172,456 visitor-days per year to De Wieden (this
study). Hence, the total turn-over generated by
De Wieden is euro 3,638,822 per year. It is
assumed that all expenditure of these visitors
can be attributed to the De Wieden (whereas in
reality some of the visitors may combine a visit
to De Wieden with a visit to another attraction in
the area). The net value added is calculated by
Table 5
Travelers and travel costs to De Wieden from different zones
Zone (km) Total
visits/year
Zone
population
Visits/
population
Average
travel costs
b5 8548 19,010 0.45 1.17
5–10 13,380 45,580 0.29 2.58
10–25 35,681 345,790 0.10 4.45
25–50 27,875 1,024,390 0.03 7.50
50–100 53,521 3,714,010 0.01 12.64
100–250 33,451 6,285,990 0.01 19.19
Total 172,456
0 50000 100000 150000
0
10
20
30
Total visits
Added costs (euro)
Consumer surplus
Fig. 4. Demand curve for visits to De Wieden.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 221
multiplying the turn-over with the average value
added generated per unit of turn-over. For the
recreational companies in De Wieden, the net
value added is around 22% of turn-over (De
Bruin et al., 2001)—which compares to a na-
tional average of 15% for the hotel sector (BHC,
2003). Hence, the value added generated by De
Wieden is around euro 800,000 per year.
The total value of the recreational service of De
Wieden is found by summing the utility accru-
ing to the visitors, and the net value added of the
recreational sector in the immediate surround-
ings of De Wieden, insofar as based upon the
contribution from visitors to De Wieden.
Hence, the total value of the service is
880,000 + 800,000 = 1,680,000 euro.
(iv) Nature conservation. The non-use value associ-
ated with the nature conservation service is nor-
mally analyzed with CVM (Arrow et al., 1993;
Hailu et al., 2000). Although CVM has increas-
ingly been applied to analyze the non-material
benefits derived from ecosystems, some authors
have questioned the validity of CVM (e.g., Car-
son, 1998). One of the problems associated with
CVM is that respondents do not actually have to
pay the amount they express to be willing to pay
for a service, which may lead to an overestima-
tion of its value (Diamond and Hausman, 1994;
Carson, 1998). The implementation of a well-
designed CVM study is outside the scope of
this paper. Instead, in order to obtain a crude
approximation of the monetary value of the na-
ture conservation service, it is assumed that the
amount of money contributed to the NGO
dNatuurmonumentenTthat manages De Wieden
provides an indication of the willingness-to-pay
(WTP) of The Netherlands’ public for nature
conservation in De Wieden. An advantage of
this approach is that is measures actual payments
instead of a stated willingness to pay. However,
the estimate only indicates the minimum amount
the Dutch public is willing to pay. The actual
amount will be higher because some members
of the NGO may be willing to pay a larger sum
if this would be necessary to preserve De Wieden,
and because some non-members may also be
willing to pay for nature conservation in De
Wieden.
In the year 2002, the NGO received in total around
euro 29 million in donations (Natuurmonumenten,
2003a). However, the NGO manages a number of
nature parks in The Netherlands. To estimate the
WTP of the members of Natuurmonumenten for De
Wieden, it is assumed that the WTP for De Wieden is
proportional to the aerial surface of De Wieden in
comparison to the total area of the sites managed by
the NGO. The total area of the sites managed by the
NGO is 71,200 ha (June 2002), of which 5400 ha
(7.6%) are located in De Wieden (Natuurmonumen-
ten, 2003a). Hence, the minimum value of the nature
conservation service of the De Wieden wetlands can
be estimated at around euro 2.2 million per year.
4.4. Aggregation and comparison of the values
(step 4)
All services have been valued in monetary terms.
However, different indicators have been used to
indicate the surplus generated by the services
(value added, consumer surplus and payments to
Natuurmonumenten). This restricts the possibilities
to add and compare the values, as discussed earlier
in the paper. Nevertheless, the values of the four
services have been added to provide a crude indica-
tion of their total value, as presented in Table 6. The
approximate, combined monetary value of the four
selected ecosystem services provided by De Wieden
is in the order of euro 4,500,000 per year, or 830 per
ha per year.
4.5. Analysis of scales of ecosystem services and
stakeholders (step 5)
We now turn to the spatial scales at which the four
services of the De Wieden ecosystem are supplied to
stakeholders. Four institutional scales are distin-
Table 6
Economic value of the ecosystem services supplied by the study
area
Ecosystem service Economic value (euro/year)
Reed cutting 480,000
Fisheries 140,000
Recreation 1,680,000
Nature conservation 2,200,000
Total value of the selected services 4,500,000
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228222
guished: municipal (b5 km from the Wieden), pro-
vincial (between 5 and 25 km from De Wieden),
national (The Netherlands excluding the area b25
km from De Wieden), and global (excluding The
Netherlands).
(i) Provision of reed. All reed cutters live in the
proximity of the area (Van Dijk, 2003), and the
benefits of reed cutting accrue to the stake-
holders at the municipal scale. Note that reed-
lands are a distinctive element of the local
landscape and, in this sense, they contribute to
the amenity service of the area which accrues to
various other local stakeholders. However, for
reasons of simplicity, in our analysis, we focus
on the value of reed for reed cutters.
(ii) Provision of fish. All fishermen live in the
proximity of the area (Van Dijk, 2003), and,
as with reed cutting, the benefits of fisheries
accrue at the municipal scale. As with the ser-
vice dProvision of reed,Tit is assumed that all
benefits of this service accrue to the local fish-
ermen. In reality, it can be expected that there is
also a benefit for some other stakeholders. For
example, for some visitors, the presence of tra-
ditional fisheries adds to the cultural value of
the De Wieden wetland.
(iii) Recreation.Van Konijnenburg (1996) assessed
the amount of visitors arriving from different
areas to De Wieden, see Table 7. The numbers
do not match with Table 5 as Table 7 indicates
the numbers of visitors from different institu-
tional zones, instead of different distances. The
international scale comprises all visitors from
other countries; foreign visitors come in partic-
ular from Germany and Belgium. It is assumed
that the WTP is the same for all visitors, and
that this information can be used to assess the
value of the recreation service at different
scales. The recreational value for the tourism
industry is entirely attributed to the municipal
level as all companies are located in a distance
of less than 5 km from De Wieden.
(iv) Nature conservation. The membership of Nat-
uurmonumenten at different institutional scales
provides a proxy for the value of the nature
conservation service at these different levels,
see Table 8. Obviously, this approach to split
the monetary value of the natural conservation
service over different scales is very crude, for
example because not all the appreciation of
local people for the nature close to their home
is reflected in a membership of Natuurmonu-
menten. However, better data are currently not
available to analyze the value of this service at
different levels within The Netherlands. The De
Wieden wetlands are also of international im-
portance, evident from its qualification as a
Ramsar site and its inclusion in the EU habitats
and bird directives. This international impor-
tance is not reflected in any indicator that can
be used to establish a monetary indication of
this international value, and it is included p.m.
in the valuation.
Fig. 5 shows how the values of the four services
are distributed over the four scales. The production
services are attributed to the municipal scale, whereas
the nature conservation and recreation service are
spread according to the approach explained above.
Obviously, the analysis is very crude and provides
only an order of magnitude indication of the values at
different scales. Only the main stakeholders in each
Table 7
Visitors to De Wieden and consumers’ surplus at different scales
Scale Share of
visitors (%)
a
Number of
visitors
Consumers’ surplus
(euro) (rounded)
Municipal 9 15,521 80,000
Provincial 25 43,114 220,000
National 55 94,851 480,000
International 11 18,970 100,000
Total 100 172,456 880,000
a
Source: Van Konijnenburg (1996).
Table 8
Lower bound value of the nature conservation service at different
scales
Scale Share of
members (%)
a
Number of
members
Minimum value
(euro) (rounded)
Municipal 0.3 2883 6600
Provincial 6.6 63,426 145,200
National 93 894,691 2,048,200
International – p.m.
Total 100 961,000 2,200,000
a
Source: Natuurmonumenten, 2003b.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 223
service have been considered, whereas in reality there
are a range of other stakeholders (e.g., local residents)
that also have an interest in the analyzed services.
Nevertheless, the figure demonstrates how scale deter-
mines the value of the services for the stakeholders at
the different levels. At the municipal scale, the most
important stakeholder interests relate to recreation,
reed cutting and fisheries. At the provincial scale,
the main stakeholder interests are in recreation, where-
as nature conservation is also important. At the na-
tional level, nature conservation is by far the most
important service. The value of the nature conserva-
tion service at the global scale is not known.
5. Implications for ecosystem management
The functioning of ecosystems depends upon earth
system processes that take place over a range of
spatial and temporal scales. Ecosystem services, that
depend upon the functioning of the ecosystem, are
generated at different, sometimes overlapping, ecolog-
ical scales. In spite of the myriad of processes under-
lying most ecosystem services, often a typical
ecological scale can be identified at which the service
is generated. For example, carbon sequestration
involves a range of processes taking place mostly at
the scale of the plot (e.g., plant production) and the
ecosystem (e.g., fire). Nevertheless, the service is
generated at the global scale—it is the global amount
of sequestered carbon that is one of the drivers of the
global climate. Ecosystem services are supplied to the
socio-economic system according to a range of insti-
tutional scales, varying from the individual to the
global level (see Fig. 2). Each institutional scale com-
monly comprises different stakeholders, with some-
times conflicting interests (Grimble and Wellard,
1997; Tacconi, 2000).
Consideration of scales and stakeholders enhances
the applicability of ecosystem services valuation to
support decision making. Stakeholders at different
scales often attach a different value to ecosystem
services, depending upon their cultural background,
and upon the impact of the service on their income
and/or living conditions. These different interests
often result in different visions on the management
of the area (see also Brown, 1996; Tacconi, 2000).
This is illustrated by stakeholders’ preferences in the
De Wieden wetland. Local stakeholders benefit from
the reed and fish resources of the area that are of little
importance at the national scale, and national stake-
holders’ main interest is in the biodiversity of De
Wieden. This leads to conflicting views on the man-
agement of the area. For instance, reed cutters prefer
to cut reed when it is 1 year old in order to get the best
price for the reed, whereas nature conservationists
would like to restrict reed cutting as birds need 2- to
4-year-old reed for nesting.
The formulation of management plans that are
acceptable to all stakeholders requires the balancing
of these different interests. If an optimal management
strategy is sought on the basis of the interests of one
particular scale alone, this may lead to unacceptable
solutions for stakeholders at other scales. For instance,
a management plan for De Wieden based upon local
interests only would not do justice to national and
Approximate value
(euro/year)
2,000,000
1,000,000
0
reed cutting fisheries recreation nature
conservation
Municipal interests
National interests
Provincial interests
Global interests
?
Fig. 5. The relation between institutional scale and the value of ecosystem services (at the global level, the value of the nature conservation
service is not known).
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228224
international value of the biodiversity conservation
service of De Wieden. On the other side, a manage-
ment plan for a natural park based upon national
interests would leave little opportunity for local activ-
ities—and risk confrontation with local residents. In
De Wieden, compromise solutions are found to bal-
ance the use of ecosystem services. For example,
fishermen cooperate with nature conservationist by
installing (subsidized) otter-protection devices on
their hoop nets, and the nature conservation NGO
managing the area poses relatively few restrictions
on reed cutting in most of De Wieden.
Furthermore, consideration of scales and stake-
holders allows identification of the appropriate insti-
tutional level for decision making. In general,
decision making on ecosystems should take place at
a high enough level to ensure that all main benefits of
the ecosystem are accounted for (Millennium Eco-
system Assessment, 2003). Services provided at high
institutional scales, in particular the nature conserva-
tion and carbon sequestration services, require insti-
tutional arrangements at the national and international
scale in order to ensure their continued supply. This
paper also demonstrates the potential risk of the
decentralization of responsibilities for nature reserve
management to lower (provincial and municipal) au-
thorities, as currently proposed in The Netherlands
(VROM, 2004). Most of the benefits of the nature
conservation service accrue at the national scale.
Local authorities, that have the specific mandate to
look after provincial or municipal interests, cannot be
expected to be the appropriate institutional level to
ensure the maintenance of this service. In addition, in
The Netherlands, they are faced with a strong de-
mand for space from local residents, e.g., for the
construction of houses. Therefore, the proposed de-
centralization risks to lead to a decline in nature
reserves in a way that is sub-optimal from the na-
tional perspective.
6. Conclusions
Ecosystem services are generated at a range of
ecological scales, and are supplied to stakeholders at
a range of institutional scales. Across the institutional
scales, stakeholders can have very different perspec-
tives on the values of ecosystem services, based,
among others, on their dependency upon specific
services to provide income or sustain their living
environment. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the
scales of ecosystem services when valuation of ser-
vices is applied to support the formulation or imple-
mentation of ecosystem management plans. Formu-
lation or implementation of management plans on the
basis of stakeholders’ interest at one institutional scale
is bound to lead to sub-optimal ecosystem manage-
ment from the perspective of stakeholders at other
scales.
Analysis of the values of ecosystem services at
different scales appears, in principle, feasible for the
four services tested in this paper: two production
services, recreation and nature conservation. However,
the difficulties encountered in other studies in the
monetary valuation of the nature conservation ser-
vices (Spash and Hanley, 1995; Nunes and van den
Bergh, 2001) were confirmed in our study. Further-
more, it appears that monetary valuation of the na-
ture conservation service at the global scale is
particularly difficult as it is difficult to find a bench-
mark with which the nature conservation service can
be compared.
The paper only presents one further step towards
the integration of scales in ecological–economic
analysis. Whereas the paper pinpoints the role of
scales and stakeholders in relation to ecosystem ser-
vices valuation, it also highlights a number of issues
that are in need of further research. First, there is a
need to assess the role of scales of ecosystem ser-
vices in relation to CVM, in order to reveal how
stakeholders’ willingness to pay for ecosystem ser-
vices varies with scale and how this can be
accounted for in CVM. A distance function ap-
proach, as recently applied to environmental ameni-
ties by, e.g., Fa¨re and Grosskopf (1998) and Ferraro
(2004), may provide a suitable entry point here.
Second, there is a need to further analyze the spatial
heterogeneity of ecosystem services and the conse-
quences of this heterogeneity for the value of these
services. This is particularly relevant for regulation
services supplied at the landscape and ecosystem
level, such as the flood protection service. Third,
further study is required in order to allow quantifi-
cation of the global value of nature and biodiversity,
and enhance its consideration in local and national
ecosystem management.
L. Hein et al. / Ecological Economics 57 (2006) 209–228 225
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... However, applying equal weightings to different ES in Equations (1) and (2) assumes they are equally important, substitutable, and that impacts on different ESs are commensurate with each other (i.e., degradation of the supply of one ES category can be offset by improvement to the supply of another). People do ascribe different levels of importance to different ESs (Arias-Arévalo et al., 2018;Hein et al., 2006;Kenter et al., 2015), hence differential weightings may be more appropriate here to reflect different stakeholders values. ...
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... This thesis aims to change the perspective at this point for several reasons. For example, by arguing in line withHein et al. (2006), actors' incentives, perceptions and thus their capacity to act upon shock events and opportunities for change vary with the actors' geographic proximity to the shock event or opportunity. In this case, this means that rural actors living close to important natural resources have another capacity for change than stakeholders living in urban areas. ...
Thesis
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