Economics and Ecosystem Services
Over the last 50 years, nearly 60% of the world’s ecosystem services have been degraded by human impact. Among objective underlying reasons, we can identify two common ones: the imperfection of the traditional market model and the inefficiency of national policy. One grave problem is a lack of price/value or a severely underestimated value for the overwhelming majority of ecoservices.
In today’s world, a broad spectrum of issues related to ecosystem services has started to be actively developed. Ecosystem services include resource, regulating, cultural, and other services and are often defined as benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. For the economic evaluation of ecosystem services and the actual use of this value in economics, we may emphasize four stages as follows: identification of an ecosystem service; estimation of its economic value and related benefits; identification of a service benefit recipient; and formation of a mechanism to effect payment (compensation) for ecoservices. Charging for ecosystem services may become an effective economic mechanism for conserving and using in a sustainable manner all functions of natural capital.
For Russia, we would suggest promoting the following focus areas of the economic mechanism for ecoservice compensation: (1) international compensation funds; (2) federal compensation funds; (3) earmarked funds of the Ministry of Natural Resources; (4) earmarked funds of ministries and departments; (5) interregional compensation mechanisms; (6) enterprises’ payments for ecosystem services (earmarked funds); (7) creation of a market for ecosystem services (expansion of the existing markets and building of new ones); and (8) local compensation mechanisms.