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Do we ecologically model what we economically value?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lee Stapleton, Professor Guy Garrod


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For the period 1991-2005 inclusive we categorise peer-reviewed journal output depending on whether it pertains to case-studies in a) cropland or b) aggregate semi-natural and natural terrestrial (ASNNT) ecosystems for three applications in ecological modelling: 1) modelling of terrestrial carbon and nitrogen fluxes; 2) modelling of terrestrial root systems; 3) geographic information systems. Next we compare these research output magnitudes for case-studies in cropland and ASNNT ecosystems with estimates of the total economic value (TEV) of either system. For applications 1) and 3) the magnitude of research output for ASNNT ecosystems between 1991-2005 is greater than for cropland and research into the former is increasing at a faster rate over time compared to the latter. Given that the TEV of ASNNT ecosystems is 82 times greater than the TEV of cropland we deem these trends in research output as desirable under the assumption that value and research should be interdependent. However for application 2), although research into ASNNT ecosystems is increasing at a faster rate compared to cropland, total research output between 1991-2005 is greater for cropland. We conclude that increased research output which focuses on ASNNT ecosystems in this particular application should be a priority, given the high TEV of ASNNT ecosystems relative to cropland. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stapleton LM, Garrod GD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecological Economics

Year: 2008

Volume: 65

Issue: 3

Pages: 531-537

ISSN (print): 0921-8009

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6106

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.07.020


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