The economic value of the ecosystem services of the Chesapeake Bay

Holtan, Ryan, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay has been exploited by humans even before the first Europeans arrived in the area. Today, the pattern continues and despite governmental interference, the Bay is being severely exploited. In spite of all the harmful practices that humans have performed on the estuary, it still provides a vast number of ecosystem services. These ecosystem services are extremely important to not only the people who live in the area, but people across the globe as well, since it plays a vital part in the global nutrient cycle. These services, however, lie outside the realm of conventional markets and are thus, under-valued. It is this under-valuation of ecosystem services that is the root of the environmental degradation experienced today. This paper uses data previously collected on the willingness-to-pay for specific ecosystem services, to calculate the economic value of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem services. If the public and policy makers were made aware of these values and applied them effectively through a cost-benefit analysis or multi-criteria decision analysis, then many more socially efficient decisions regarding the environment would be reached.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

MS (Master of Science)
economic value, Chesapeake Bay, ecosystem

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:35:59.

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