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Valuing ecosystem services - linking ecology and policy
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7234-0587
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Ecosystem services constitute a precondition for human welfare and survival. This concept has also become increasingly popular among both scientists and policymakers. Several initiatives have been taken to identify and value ecosystem services. Several services are threatened, and it has been concluded that in order to better manage ecosystem services they need to be further investigated and valued. By measuring them using a common metric—monetary value—they can be more easily compared and included in decision-making tools. This thesis contributes to this goal by presenting values for several ecosystem services and also including them in decision-making tools.

Starting with a discussion of the concept of ecosystem services, this thesis aims to present values for certain ecosystem services and to illustrate the use of these values in systems-analysis tools such as cost-benefit analyses (CBA) and a weighting set. Links between ecology, economics and policy are discussed within a broader framework of ecosystem services. Five papers are included, in which two contingent valuation studies (CV) have been used to find values for different ecosystem services. One valuation study is focused on the effects from tributyltin (TBT) in Swedish marine waters. In addition, a quantitative assessment framework has been developed in order to simplify analysis of environmental status, progress in environmental surveillance and the relevance of different measures. It is suggested that the framework should also be used when assessing the impacts of other substances affecting the environment. The second valuation study investigates the risk of an oil spill in northern Norway. The results have been included in two CBAs and a weighting set. The first CBA compares costs for remediation of polluted sediments, caused by TBT, with the benefits of reducing TBT levels. The second CBA compares costs and benefits for reducing the probability of an oil spill. The weighting set includes monetary values on a number of impact categories where marine toxicity is based on the valuation study on TBT.  One study also examines the inclusion of environmental costs in life cycle costing (LCC) in different sectors in Sweden.

Results show that respondents consider ecosystem values to be important. The values of Swedish marine waters and coastal areas outside Lofoten-Vesterålen in Norway have been identified and quantified in terms of biodiversity, habitat, recreation and scenery. In the Norwegian case, an ongoing debate on the issue of oil and gas exploration has had an impact on the number of protest bids found in the study.

Based on the cost and benefits of limiting impacts on ecosystem services derived from the valuation studies, CBAs show that the suggested measures are most likely beneficial for society, and the results contribute to policy recommendations. A weighting set has been updated with new values through value transfer. The weighting set is compatible with LCA. The final study shows that companies and public organisations use environmental costs (internal and external) in a limited manner.

In this thesis the ecosystem service concept is used both as an introduction and a guiding thread for the reader, as a way to frame the studies undertaken. The concept of ecosystem services can be useful, as it emphasises the importance of the services to humans. By finding and presenting values of ecosystem services, such services are more easily incorporated into decision-making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2014. , 41 p.
TRITA-FMS-PHD, 2014:02
Keyword [en]
Contingent valuation; Cost-benefit analysis, Ecosystem services; Ecotoxicity; External costs; Life cycle costing; Monetary weighting; Non-market valuation; Oil spill
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-155878ISBN: 978-91-7595-364-9 (print)OAI: diva2:763108
Public defence
2014-12-12, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)

QC 20141121

Available from: 2014-11-21 Created: 2014-11-13 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Valuation of ecotoxicological impacts from tributyltin based on a quantitative environmental assessment framework
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Valuation of ecotoxicological impacts from tributyltin based on a quantitative environmental assessment framework
2015 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the scientific literature, few valuations of biodiversity and ecosystem services following the impacts of toxicity are available, hampered by the lack of ecotoxicological documentation. Here, tributyltin is used to conduct a contingent valuation study as well as cost–benefit analysis (CBA) of measures for improving the environmental status in Swedish coastal waters of the Baltic Sea. Benefits considering different dimensions when assessing environmental status are highlighted and a quantitative environmental assessment framework based on available technology, ecological conditions, and economic valuation methodology is developed. Two scenarios are used in the valuation study: (a) achieving good environmental status by 2020 in accordance with EU legislation (USD 119 household−1 year−1) and (b) achieving visible improvements by 2100 due to natural degradation (USD 108 household−1 year−1) during 8 years. The later scenario was used to illustrate an application of the assessment framework. The CBA results indicate that both scenarios might generate a welfare improvement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015
Contingent valuation, Marine environment, Marine water framework, Stated preferences, TBT, Toxic compounds
National Category
Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156039 (URN)10.1007/s13280-015-0682-4 (DOI)000368038800011 ()2-s2.0-84954364441 (Scopus ID)

Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

QC 20150804

Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Valuation of oil spill risk reductions in the Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Valuation of oil spill risk reductions in the Arctic
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156038 (URN)

QS 2014

The manuscript is published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/21606544.2016.1155499 See DiVA:

QC 20160520

Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-05-18Bibliographically approved
3. Costs and benefits associated with Arctic marine oil spill prevention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Costs and benefits associated with Arctic marine oil spill prevention
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156036 (URN)

QS 2014

Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2016-10-11Bibliographically approved
4. Ecovalue 2014: An updated set of valuation factors for environmental systems analysis tools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecovalue 2014: An updated set of valuation factors for environmental systems analysis tools
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156034 (URN)

QS 2014

Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2014-11-21Bibliographically approved
5. Practitioners' use of life cycle costing with environmental costs - a Swedish study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Practitioners' use of life cycle costing with environmental costs - a Swedish study
2011 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 16, no 9, 897-902 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to describe life cycle costing (LCC) practices in some Swedish organisations, investigate probable changes and determine whether and how environmental costs (internal and/or external) are considered in current LCC. This paper is based on interviews with LCC practitioners working in authorities and companies in Sweden, mainly the Swedish defence sector, but also other sectors to broaden the study. Those interviewees who use LCC all employ their own particular method, adjusted from case to case. Inclusion of future costs and use of interest rate is also decided from case to case. The inclusion of direct, indirect, contingent and intangible costs differs between organisations. Even when environmental costs are considered in the LCC, not all the internal (environmental) costs are included. All interviewees believe that LCC can be important for decision making and most also believe that environmental costs, like other costs, influence final decisions, but still LCC is not always performed or used. The companies represented are large, and a particular individual cannot have insights into all methods or procedures used in different departments. The results are thus based upon interviews with individuals representing the companies and the responses might have been different if different individuals had been interviewed. However, since the answers between the different time periods and between the organisations point in the same direction, we found no need to make further interviews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2011
Environmental costs, LCC, Life cycle costing, Practitioner use
National Category
Social Sciences
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-46208 (URN)10.1007/s11367-011-0325-3 (DOI)000296011400006 ()2-s2.0-84905722347 (Scopus ID)
QC 20111103Available from: 2011-11-03 Created: 2011-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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