Time to Bring the Value of Nature Back to Earth

About LP

In 1997, Robert Costanza and colleagues set out to do something audacious[1]. They estimated the value of nature. At the time, the general public did not pay much attention to the economic value of the living world. Costanza and his co-authors knew that nature had an economic value and it was likely to be huge. And that’s exactly what they found. They published a powerful and transformational paper in Nature[2] in which they estimated that the preliminary value of nature was on the order of $33 trillion per year. Read more...

Inserting “Oceans” into the Paris Climate Conversation

Marine scientists and conservation professionals are organizing to make “oceans” a priority at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) talks in Paris this December. Oceans, and the ecosystems they support, play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The Climate Meeting in Paris provides an opportunity to highlight the connections between oceans and climate—good and bad. But these meetings are the result of complicated and bureaucratic international processes and have all the constraints associated with major international agreements.  Read more...

Learning to Speak Ecosystem Services

By Christian Neumann, Linwood Pendleton, Marianne Kettunen, Tundi Agardy

The value of ecosystems and the associated services they provide is receiving growing attention both in the public and decision-making arena. The language of Ecosystem Services essentially translates the complexity of ecological processes and functions into descriptors that define the socio-economic-ecological link. To overcome the challenge of scientific and non-scientific communities having to find a common language, it is worth keeping a few key aspects in mind. Read more...

Marine Ecosystem Services: How Is That Valuation Thing Treating You?

By Linwood Pendleton


Well it finally happened … marine ecosystem services have become trendy and that has some peoples’ knickers in a twist.

Cartoon by Mike Twohy, New Yorker Collection, The Cartoon Bank

Recent articles raise questions, and offer some answers, about the usefulness, and even the ethics, of ecosystem services (ES) thinking and valuation in marine management. Unmüßig finds grounds for fears that monetization will lead to commodification, diminish biodiversity, and ignore cultural and spiritual values. Kronenberg echoes those concerns using the little known field of economic ornithology.