Integrating similarity analysis and ecosystem service value transfer: Results from a tropical coastal wetland in India

Andrea Ghermandi, Albert Moses Sheela, Joseph Justus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy demand for ecosystem service values in developing countries results in a growing use of value transfer techniques, even in the absence of primary valuations from highly comparable study sites. Current techniques provide limited guidance on how to quantitatively assess the similarity between study and policy sites and control for the effect thereof on transfer accuracy. This paper proposes a methodology for the estimation of a study-policy site similarity index and explores its application to the Akkulam-Veli wetland in Kerala, India. The use of empirical similarity weights in a meta-analytical transfer yields a narrower prediction interval for the policy site value estimate. Estimating the meta-regression model parameters on a subset of primary valuation studies with greater similarity to the policy site application is found to increase value transfer accuracy. The need for further systematic testing and potential implications of the proposed approach for value transfer practitioners are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalEcosystem Services
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Cultural services are provided by the wetland through the support of tourism and recreational activities and the protection of a natural habitat and biodiversity. Of two recreational boat clubs once in operation, only the one in the downstream section (Veli) of the wetland system is currently open to visitors. The upstream one in the Akkulam reservoir was closed due to the eutrophication problems experienced in this section of the wetland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Coastal wetland
  • Ecosystem services
  • India
  • Meta-regression analysis
  • Similarity analysis
  • Value transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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