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Economic Valuation for Sustainable Development in the Swedish Coastal Zone

Tore Söderqvist, Håkan Eggert, Björn Olsson and Åsa Soutukorva.2005 Ambio Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 169-175, March (2005).


The Swedish coastal zone is a scene of conflicting interests about various goods and services provided by nature. Open-access conditions and the public nature of many services increase the difficulty in resolving these conflicts. ”Sustainability” is a vague but widely accepted guideline for finding reasonable trade-offs between different interests. The UN view of sustainable development suggests that coastal zone management should aim at a sustainable ecological, economic, and social-cultural development. Looking closer at economic sustainability, it is observed that economic analyses about whether changes in society imply a gain or a loss should take into account the economic value of the environment. Methods used for making such economic valuation in the context of the Swedish coastal zone are briefly reviewed. It is noted that the property rights context matters for the results of a valuation study. This general background is followed by a concise presentation of the design and results of four valuation studies on Swedish coastal zone issues. One study is on the economic value of an improved bathing water quality in the Stockholm archipelago. The other studies are a travel cost study about the economic value of improved recreational fisheries in the Stockholm archipelago, a replacement cost study on the value of restoring habitats for sea trout, and a choice experiment study on the economic value of improved water quality along the Swedish westcoast.

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