A
Statement of Task

The committee will perform a study to examine how current scientific knowledge about the economic and noneconomic value of biodiversity can best be applied to the management of biological resources. The committee will include the following areas of expertise: the biodiversity sciences (ecology, population biology, conservation biology, and systematics), resource management, economics, sociology, and philosophy). The report of the committee will

  • Review the current state of scientific knowledge about the noneconomic and economic values and benefits of biodiversity, including the relative utility of economic cost-benefit analyses and noneconomic approaches; included in the review should be a characterization of the various kinds, aspects, and dimensions of value and benefits that need to be taken into account by managers and decision-makers, an evaluation of the tools available to assess them, and an examination of the ways in which such assessments are currently used in helping to make decisions about the management of biological resources.
  • Examine, with the aid of case studies involving Department of Defense and other lands as appropriate, how this knowledge can be synthesized and applied to protection, use, and management of ecosystems and biodiversity—especially, taking into account that much of the value may be noneconomic in nature, how the various aspects of value can and should be weighed in making management decisions, and the limits to such comparisons.
  • Identify weaknesses in the current understanding of economic and noneconomic value and limits to its utility as it relates to management of biodiversity, questions that must be addressed to enhance its utility for managers, and research and development needed to address the needs identified.


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A Statement of Task The committee will perform a study to examine how current scientific knowledge about the economic and noneconomic value of biodiversity can best be applied to the management of biological resources. The committee will include the following areas of expertise: the biodiversity sciences (ecology, population biology, conservation biology, and systematics), resource management, economics, sociology, and philosophy). The report of the committee will Review the current state of scientific knowledge about the noneconomic and economic values and benefits of biodiversity, including the relative utility of economic cost-benefit analyses and noneconomic approaches; included in the review should be a characterization of the various kinds, aspects, and dimensions of value and benefits that need to be taken into account by managers and decision-makers, an evaluation of the tools available to assess them, and an examination of the ways in which such assessments are currently used in helping to make decisions about the management of biological resources. Examine, with the aid of case studies involving Department of Defense and other lands as appropriate, how this knowledge can be synthesized and applied to protection, use, and management of ecosystems and biodiversity—especially, taking into account that much of the value may be noneconomic in nature, how the various aspects of value can and should be weighed in making management decisions, and the limits to such comparisons. Identify weaknesses in the current understanding of economic and noneconomic value and limits to its utility as it relates to management of biodiversity, questions that must be addressed to enhance its utility for managers, and research and development needed to address the needs identified.

OCR for page 145
Based on current knowledge and taking into account risks and uncertainties, make recommendations on how managers can improve how they use information about the value of biodiversity in the process of developing, implementing, and evaluating management plans. Related questions that the committee may usefully address include: How can managers use knowledge about the value of biodiversity to help guide them in determining the most appropriate level of protection for an area (e.g., preservation versus conservation)? To what degree are different kinds of value affected by different levels and kinds of use? How should managers weigh the degree to which current actions that affect the biodiversity of an area might influence future value and costs—e.g., is current heavy use of an area for training likely to result in serious degradation of ecosystem services, cultural or aesthetic value, or potential for biodiversity prospecting in the future?