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Abstract

Assessing the value of ecosystem services in a particular area helps provide information about the economic benefits these services provide to the community. In many situations, to avoid the full cost of primary data collection, value estimates may be applied from secondary sources in a process known as benefit transfer. However, in many countries, including Australia, the stock of economic value estimates for ecosystem services is limited and this restricts the application of benefit transfer. In this paper, the non-market values of three ecosystems (native vegetation, waterways, and wetlands) in a coastal peri-urban town are assessed using benefit transfer. Ecosystems in a peri-urban environment are generally fragmented and in a degraded condition, but can have very high values within the residential urban area. Three main limiting factors are identified. First, there is a general paucity of relevant source study estimates. Second, there is a need for scale adjustment factors so that source study estimates which are often assessed at a catchment or regional level can be adjusted to a small local council jurisdiction. Third, there is a need for some level of scope adjustment to account for the very high values of very small patch sizes, with low ecological value, within an urban area.

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