Valuation of the gains from protection of biodiversity is difficult because the services that provide the benefits do not normally pass through markets where prices can form. But the services sometimes pass through markets where consumers or producers behave in a market-oriented manner, and so the values implicit in this behaviour can be identified and derived. Estimates of the benefits of biodiversity protection are derived from the costs of protecting native plant communities from a major weed in Australia, by following this approach. In 1999, invasion of coastal areas of New South Wales by bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata (DC.) T. Norl.) was listed as a key process threatening native plants under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. In accordance with the Act, the Department of Environment and Climate Change prepared a Threat Abatement Plan (TAP) to reduce the impacts of bitou bush on biodiversity at each threatened site. The costs of protecting sites vary closely with the number of priority native species and communities at each site. Following standard economic assumptions about market transactions, these costs are interpreted to provide values the benefits of protecting extra species, communities, and sites. Key words: Bitou bush, Chrysanthemoides monilifera, threat abatement plan, valuation of biodiversity, benefit-cost analysis, weed control, defensive-expenditure method.


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