The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2002 with the aim of establishing the basis for the global recognition, dynamic conservation and adaptive management of outstanding traditional agricultural systems and their associated landscapes, biodiversity, knowledge systems and cultures. There is anecdotal evidence that designated GIAHS are economically better than non-GIAHS sites. However, there have not been done an economic analysis to prove this. Nor are any sophisticated economic performance criteria for GIAHS in place for a continuously monitoring of the functioning. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to conduct an economic valuation for a GIAHS system versus a similar non designated GIAHS system. For this, a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is chosen. The major constraint is the data availability. Therefore, a framework for economic analysis shall be developed with the intention to provide directions, assumptions, and data requirement to carry out an economic analysis and so give guidance on future inclusion of economic valuations of GIAHS. Theconceptual framework for economic assessment will use the Rice-Fish pilot site in China as a case study. The example calculations on the rice-fish co-culture (RFC) have to be taken cautiously due to data availability on different activities (tourism, marketed products on local and international markets) as well as comparison to similar systems.
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