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Economic instruments and the conservation of biodiversity

Collins Ayoo (Department of Economics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 8 August 2008



The purpose of this paper is to describe and examine the problem of biodiversity loss and to explain its underlying causes and the possibilities of using economic instruments to conserve it.


The research in this paper was undertaken through a review of the literature and an analysis of data on the trends of various measures of biodiversity worldwide.


The loss of biodiversity is occurring worldwide at a rapid rate that has the potential to significantly undermine the prospects for sustainable development. Although the main proximate cause of biodiversity loss is land conversion, the fundamental causes are rooted in economic, institutional, and social factors and include market failures and the lack of property rights.

Practical implications

This paper presents arguments in support of using economic instruments to conserve biodiversity and explains the conditions under which the use of these instruments is likely to be most successful.


This paper illuminates the economic, social and institutional factors that underlie the rapid loss of biodiversity and outlines some ways in which economic instruments can be used to stem the loss of biodiversity.



Ayoo, C. (2008), "Economic instruments and the conservation of biodiversity", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 550-564.



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