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UW Professor's Publications Ranked Among World's Best in Marine Ecosystem Services

July 29, 2013
Ed Barbier

Having articles published by some of the world’s leading scientific journals has become almost expected of University of Wyoming Professor Edward Barbier. But even he was taken aback by the results of an international survey that ranked three of his articles among the top five publications in marine ecosystem services.

To determine the rankings, academic and other professionals in the natural and social sciences were surveyed by the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership, an information and communication center on the human uses of marine ecosystems around the world.

“These publications, in which I am lead author, have a broad appeal to both natural and social scientists working on marine systems,” says Barbier, the John S. Bugas Professor of Economics in the UW College of Business. “Many of my co-authors on these two articles are natural scientists with renowned expertise in marine and coastal systems, which also explains the broad appeal of the articles.”

The survey’s top-ranked article was Barbier’s 2011 study published in Ecological Monographs, the premier publication of the Ecological Society of America. Titled “The value of estuarine and coastal ecosystem services,” the study reviewed the main ecological services provided by coral reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes, mangroves and sand beaches/dunes. Barbier and other researchers also described a few of the issues inherent to valuing ecological services and the need to include ecosystem costs in policy decisions.

The study also was ranked among the top four that have appeared in Ecological Monographs.

The fourth-ranked publication on the partnership’s list was Barbier’s “Coastal ecosystem-based management with nonlinear ecological functions and values,” which appeared in Science, an international journal. The study points out that the optimal land use option is often an integration of development and conservation goals rather than an “all or none” policy.

The fifth-ranked study, “Valuing Mangrove-fishery Linkages,” was written by Barbier and Ivar Strand at the University of York, United Kingdom. They demonstrated a model to account for the effect a change in mangrove habitat area can have on shrimp production. Ultimately, mangrove loss affected shrimp production (and thus fishery values) in Mexico’s Campeche fishery.

“I am especially proud of the fact that a co-author on both the Ecological Monographs and Science articles is Chris Kennedy, who is now an assistant professor at George Mason University but, at the time when we researched and wrote the articles, was a Ph.D. student I supervised in our Department of Economics and Finance,” Barbier says.

In 2012, Barbier had the rare opportunity to be published in two of the world’s top-peer-reviewed journals during the same year. His commentary, “Tax ‘societal ills’ to save the planet,” appeared in Nature. It outlined several steps that could foster further growth in the green economy worldwide via additional global commitments and funding mechanisms.

In the Nov. 16 issue of Science, Barbier’s article, “The Green Economy Post Rio+20,” called for the Group of 20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors (G20) to take further action to encourage sustainable development. In 2007, he was author or co-author on three articles that appeared in Science.

The results of the recent survey can be found at

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