Research of the working group focuses on methods for an environmental economic valuation of ecosystem services. The concept of ecosystem services is the fundamental link between the natural sphere of ecosystems and the human sphere. Ecosystem services comprise all the benefits that humans obtain from nature. Generally, these are classified into provisioning services (food, natural resources etc.), regulating services (water purification, climate regulation, pollination etc.), habitat/supporting services (habitat for organisms, reservoir of genetic diversity) and cultural services (recreation, spirituality etc.). Since often ecosystem services are public or common pool goods, their value cannot easily be inferred by market prices. Therefore, if policy makers are interested in how much people value, i.e. like or benefit from, these services, special techniques for the valuation of non-market goods must be employed.
In this context, the Environmental Economics group employs and analyzes so-called Stated Preference methods like the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) or Choice Experiments (CE). We are particularly interested in the question to what extent these methods can unveil and validly measure the different types of ecosystem services so that they can be used for practical policy making.
The working group has experience with CVM analyses in Germany as well as in various countries of SO-Asia (China, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam). Please see the projects listed below for detailed information.
Apart from research on the valuation of ecosystem services, the working group is actively engaged in the fields of environmental management, sustainability management and reporting, sustainability benchmarking and economic analyses regarding renewable energies.
A list of PhD theses currently being conducted in the working group can be found here.
- Biogasanlagen und EEG-Förderung: eine Analyse unter den Gesichtspunkten der Prinzipal-Agent Theorie (Dip.-Kfm. Ado Ampofo)
- Entwicklung eines multikriteriellen nachhaltigkeitsorientierten Bewertungs- und Entscheidungsunterstützungssystems für gewerbliche Wäschereien (Dipl.-Wirtschaftsw. Christian Mechel, with a grant from the Reinhold Beitlich Foundation)
- Anforderungen an die Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung in der Weinwirtschaft - Erstellung eines Praxisleitfadens auf Grundlage bestehender nationaler und internationaler Initiativen (Desirée Palmes, M.Sc.)
- Assessing the ecological and economic potentials for renewable energy sources (RES) in peripheral regions of Russia - adaptation of a German planning approach using GIS (Alisa Melnikowa, M.Sc.)
Current research projects:
- »Wiesenbewässerung - eine produktive Bewirtschaftungsform mit hohem Wert für Mensch und Natur«, project funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), 2013-2016.
- »Welfare economic valuation of sustainable rubber production in Southeast Asia: an exemplary study in SW-China«, research project SP7 within the Sino-German research cooperation »Sustainable Rubber Cultivation in the Mekong Region - Development of an integrative land-use concept in Yunnan Province, China (SURUMER)« financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 2011-2016.
- »Economic Risk Analysis and Valuation«, research project 6.1 within the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research project »Sustainable Coastal Land Management: Trade-Offs in Ecosystem Services (COMTESS)« financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 2011-2014.
- »Contingent Valuation of a more sustainable oasis management in the Tarim Basin«, research project within the German-Chinese Scientific Cooperation »Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River / China« (SuMaRiO), financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 2011-2016.
Past research projects:
- »Optimizing the use of direct methods for environmental valuation in northern Thailand and Vietnam«, Research project within the International Collaborative Research Center No. 564 of the German Science Foundation on »Sustainable Landuse and Rural Development in Mountainous Regions of Southeast Asia«, 2009-2012.
- »Employing direct and participatory valuation methods to support allocation decisions in the environmental sector«, research project within the German-Chinese Scientific Cooperation »Rural development and land use differentiation: actor-based strategies and integrative technologies for rural areas in mountainous Southwest China«, 2007-2010.
- »Economic valuation of environmental improvements in northern Thailand and northern Vietnam«, Research project within the International Collaborative Research Center No. 564 of the German Science Foundation on »Sustainable Landuse and Rural Development in Mountainous Regions of Southeast Asia«, 2006-2009.
- »Valuation and tenure of common-pool resources in mountainous regions of Thailand and Vietnam«, Research project within the International Collaborative Research Center No. 564 of the German Science Foundation on »Sustainable Landuse and Rural Development in Mountainous Regions of Southeast Asia«, 2003-2006.
- »Economic Valuation of Changes in Environmental Quality«, Research project within the Collaborative Research Center No. 565 of the German Science Foundation on »Development and Valuation of Disturbed Landscapes«, 2001-2003.