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Keywords:

  • cost, ecological restoration, economics, ecosystem valuation, ecosystem services, environmental assurance bonding

Abstract

The question of how society is going to pay for restoration has received little open discussion. We review existing literature and examples to explore two questions: How should ecological and economic considerations be balanced in determining expenditures on restoration projects? and How is society going to pay for the substantial costs involved? We discuss a number of different techniques for determining the amount of money to allocate to restoration efforts, including ecosystem replacement costs, quantifying ecosystem services, contingent valuation, and surrogate market price techniques. We then review different strategies for paying for restoration including private funding by the party responsible for the damage, public funding through taxes, voluntary contributions, and various public/private partnerships. We conclude by discussing other considerations in developing strategies to pay for restoration, including uncertainty, time-scale, evaluating success, and regional planning.