The TEEB study is underpinned by an assessment of state-of-the-art science and economics. The goal of TEEB Ecological and Economic Foundations is to provide the conceptual foundation to link economics and ecology, to highlight the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services and to show their importance for human well-being. Written by a team of international experts and led by Dr. Pushpam Kumar, this aspect of the TEEB study tackles the challenges of valuing ecosystem services, as well as issues related to economic discounting. It aims to quantify the costs of inaction and examine the macroeconomic dimension of ecosystem services loss. This information will focus on improving our understanding of the economic costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.
Examples include water and air quality regulation, nutrient cycling and decomposition, plant pollination and flood control, all of which are dependent on biodiversity. They are predominantly public goods with limited or no markets and do not command any price in the conventional economic system, so their loss is often not detected and continues unaddressed and unabated. This in turn not only impacts human well-being, but also seriously undermines the sustainability of the economic system.
TEEB Ecological and Economic Foundations is the most comprehensive overview of existing thinking in this area to date, and the process is bringing scientists and economists together to provide the analysis and tools required in order for us to be able to create a robust methodological framework enabling the decision-makers at different levels to undertake economic analysis of ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Citation: TEEB (2010), The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Ecological and Economic Foundations. Edited by Pushpam Kumar. Earthscan, London and Washington