Professional experience

I combined my educational background in international economics (MSc in 2001), marketing and management (MSc in 2003) and economics (PhD in 2005) with life-long interest in nature (birdwatching and evolutionary theory, in particular) to become an ecological economist. See below for a list of my key research interests (governance of urban green spaces, integrated valuation, criticism of the ecosystem services concept, the economics of birds and birdwatching), with links to sample publications and projects.

Governance of urban green spaces

Topics studied include the different aspects of value of urban green spaces (see below under ‘integrated valuation’) and whether they are taken into consideration in the relevant decisions (From valuation to governance, AMBIO), along with more specific issues related to barriers to urban greening (Institutional barriers to preserving urban ecosystem services, Ecosystem Services;  Wasting collaboration potential, Environmental Science and Policy;  Do the strategic documents of coastal municipalities reflect the importance of marine ecosystem services, Landscape and Urban Planning). A particularly interesting and relevant topic here is also the distinction between urban green space availability and accessibility (Urban green space availability in European cities, Ecological Indicators).

The above papers are also related to my involvement in several international research projects, such as ENABLE (Enabling Green and Blue Infrastructure Potential in Complex Social-Ecological Regions: A System Approach For Assessing Local Solutions) (BiodivERsA), GREEN SURGE (Green Infrastructure and Urban Biodiversity for Sustainable Urban Development and the Green Economy) (EU FP7), URBES (Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) (BiodivERsA), and to my collaboration with the Sendzimir Foundation, which promotes sustainable development in Poland and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Within the Sendzimir Foundation we prepared a guidebook entitled Nature in the city. Ecosystem services — untapped potential of cities (also available in Polish as Przyroda w mieście. Usługi ekosystemów — niewykorzystany potencjał miast), which has the official status of the “Polish TEEB Guide for Cities”. Within our cooperation with the TEEB project we also translated into Polish the international TEEB Manual for Cities. We also prepared several other guides for decision makers, such as Nature in the city. Solutions‚ which features ideas on how to improve urban green space governance in Poland.

Integrated valuation

With various valuation studies in the background, based on both monetary (hedonic pricing of urban green spaces, Landscape and Urban Planning;  choice experiment to value street trees, AMBIO;  travel cost method to value of a white stork nesting colony, Tourism Management) and non-monetary valuation methods (public participation GIS, Landscape and Urban Planninginsurance value of green infrastructure in and around cities, Ecosystems), my ultimate objective has been to work on integrated valuation. I have argued for synthesizing different perspectives on the value of urban ecosystem services as an editor of a special issue of Landscape and Urban Planning, and then worked on integrating non-monetary and monetary valuation methods using the example of integrating SoftGIS and hedonic pricing, Ecological Economics; and then integrating the concepts of biocultural value and monetary value captured with hedonic pricing, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. More comprehensive work in progress on the conceptual foundations of integrated valuation which involves integrating value dimensions and valuation methods can be found in a report of the GREEN SURGE project.

Criticism of the ecosystem services concept

The notion of ecosystem services has been subject to criticism which is partly related to its anthropocentric and utilitarian character, among other things promoting the unidimensional valuation of nature. This is similar to criticism experienced by a very similar concept of economic ornithology, the golden age of which was 1880s–1920s. I studied what the current debate on ecosystem services can learn from the past by investigating lessons from economic ornithology, Geoforum. Economic ornithologists underlined the utilitarian character of nature to raise political support for conservation. Its anthropocentric approach, prioritizing narrow and measurable human economic interests, undermined the standing of economic ornithology. Probably most importantly, new developments in the area of industrial pest control made the most highlighted of the birds’ services (pest control) obsolete. In a similar vein, another related paper emphasizes the perils of the economic valuation of nature’s services as betting against human ingenuity, BioScience. More specifically, addressing the risks related to potential up-scaling of payments for ecosystem services, we put forward an “Ecosystem Service Curse” hypothesis, Ecology and Society.

The economics of birds and birdwatching (birds and people)

In an article in which I put forward a framework for analyzing environmental impacts related to the use of ecosystem services throughout the “ecosystem services supply chain”, I highlighted the case of birdwatching which well illustrates both the direct impacts on ecosystems (e.g. flushing birds) and the four categories of indirect impacts, including those related to the consumption of travel and equipment and broader impacts on the society as a whole (environmental awareness of ecosystem service users and other stakeholders) (environmental impacts of the use of ecosystem services: case study of birdwatching, Environmental Management). The abovementioned article on economic ornithology links to how birds started to be seen as economic assets and how this approach failed already one hundred years ago (what can the current debate on ecosystem services learn from the past: lessons from economic ornithology, Geoforum). Nevertheless, more conventionally, we used the travel cost method to study the monetary value of white stork nesting colonies, the so-called stork villages in Poland (the economic recreational value of a white stork nesting colony, Tourism Management) and eventually considered prospects for the development of birdwatching tourism in Poland, which is sometimes referred to as “birdwatchers’ wonderland”, Journal of Ecotourism. More articles will follow!

Timeline

10.2005
—date
Lecturer and now associate professor in international and environmental economics
Department of International Economics, University of Lodz, Poland
01.2013—06.2013 Visiting researcher
Stockholm Resilience Centre
, Stockholm University, Sweden
09.2010—10.2010 Visiting lecturer
Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management
, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
08.2010—09.2010 Visiting research fellow
Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
07.2010—08.2010 Visiting research fellow
School of Earth and Environment (SEE), University of Leeds, United Kingdom
08.2007—06.2008 Visiting professor
American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
03.2004—03.2005 Research fellow
School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment, Keele University, United Kingdom
07.2002
—date
Research and educational activities, member of the board
Sendzimir Foundation
08.2001—05.2003 Environmental management consultant
UNDP Umbrella Project, Poland
01—03.2001 Intern
World Trade Organization (WTO)
, Economic Research and Analysis Division, Switzerland