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Economic values from the natural and cultural heritage in the Nordic countries

Improving visibility and integrating natural and cultural resource values in Nordic countries

image of Economic values from the natural and cultural heritage in the Nordic countries

Natural and cultural heritage represent key assets that deliver different kind of benefits to citizens in the Nordic countries. This report illustrates the economic values at stake and discusses the important and inevitable key trade-offs facing decision-makers charged with managing these assests. The report has three goals: to briefly describe existing conservation measures in the Nordic countries, to illustrate the type and magnitude of economic values generated by these measures, and to discuss key trade-offs and policy implications arising from the selection of measures, which lead to welfare impacts depending on the level of human use. The valuation studies reviewed in the report demonstrate real economic values associated with the experiences that natural and cultural heritage provides both in terms of increased welfare and regional economic impacts.

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Conclusions and policy recommendations

This study has shown that protected natural and cultural areas in the Nordic countries provide a range of economic benefits to society. The starting point for evaluating welfare benefits should be the total economic value framework (TEV), which identifies the universe of benefits to society that may arise from protecting these resources. The benefits of conservation include both market and non-market benefits, where some are related to non-use values and others to use values. In the case of conservation, nonmarket benefits often play a significant role, which requires competence in environmental economic assessment. While transferring values from other contexts (so-called benefits transfer) is useful, it should be done with care.

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