Conservation of biodiversity can generate considerable indirect economic value and this is being increasingly recognized in China. For a forest ecosystem type of a nature reserve, the most important of its values are its ecological functions which provide human beings and other living things with beneficial environmental services. These services include water conservancy, soil protection, CO2 fixation and O2 release, nutrient cycling, pollutant decomposition, and disease and pest control. Based on a case study in Changbaishan Mountain Biosphere Reserve in Northeast China, this paper provides a monetary valuation of these services by using, opportunity cost and alternative cost methods. Using such an approach, this reserve is valued at 510.11 million yuan (USD61.68 mill.) per year, 10 times higher than the opportunity cost (51.78 mill. yuan/ha.a) for regular timber production. While China has heeded UNEP's call for economic evaluation of ecological functions, the assessment techniques used need to be improved in China and in the West for reasons mentioned.


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