1 <h5>Introduction</h5> There are believed to be 7–20 million species on the planet, and the expected loss of species over the next 25 years is projected to be in the range of 140 000–5 million. Between 2 and 25% of all species on the planet are at risk of extinction (UNEP quoted in World Bank, 2000 ). Species loss is widely recognised as one of the most serious environmental problems facing nations, and biodiversity protection expenditures are rapidly increasing in many countries. Success is not easily achieved in biodiversity protection, and hard decisions over where to use the available resources are inevitable. As Weitzman (1992, p. 363) has noted: ‘Preservation of diversity in one context can only be accomplished at some real opportunity cost … including a loss of diversity somewhere else.’ Resource scarcity combined with an urgent problem provides a powerful reason for wise selection of biodiversity protection projects and for rigorous evaluation of current projects. There is considerable debate about biodiversity project selection ( Weitzman, 1992; Metrick and Weitzman, 1998; Moran and Pearce, 1998 ). However, economic literature on biodiversity protection is curiously unbalanced. Many studies have attempted to measure the benefits arising from existence of
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