Conventional vs Ecological Economics Perspectives in Valuation of Ecosystem Services in East Africa

"Ecosystems provide a range of services that are of fundamental importance to human wellbeing, health, livelihoods, and survival. In the last two decades, environmental science and policy have made increasing efforts to value ecosystem services in monetary terms, and to articulate such values through markets in order to create economic incentives for conservation. This issue paper describes conventional and ecological economics in the context of ecosystem valuation. It analyzes and reviews the current valuation systems in East Africa Region, in a comparative context, highlighting their strengths and weakness by examining the natural benefits of the ecosystem services through the use of case studies (Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania; Nyungwe National Park Rwanda; Kakamega Forest in Kenya). Finally, it assesses the implication of conventional and ecological economic approach in ecosystem valuation in East Africa. The hypothesis is that current ecosystem valuation processes and tools take a conventional economics approach which leads to poor environmental and social outcomes. Ecological economics represents the best hope for estimating the value of ecosystem services within the East Africa region as it encompasses a more holistic approach that regards the economic subsystem as a part of the larger ecological lifesupport system."