The Economic Value of Biodiversity

Nick Hanley, Charles Perrings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Biodiversity is declining worldwide, and the costs of biodiversity losses are increasingly being recognized by economists. In this article, we first review the multiple meanings of biodiversity, moving from species richness and simple abundance-weighted species counts to more complex measures that take account of taxonomic distance and functionality. We then explain the ways in which protecting biodiversity generates economic benefits in terms of direct and indirect values. Empirical approaches to estimating direct and indirect values are presented, along with a selection of recent evidence on how substantial these values are. The use of asset accounting approaches to track biodiversity values over time is discussed, in the context of sustainable development paths. Finally, we review some important challenges in valuing biodiversity that remain to be solved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-375
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Resource Economics
StatePublished - Oct 5 2019


  • biodiversity
  • ecosystem services
  • sustainable development
  • value of nature
  • wealth accounts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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