Monday, February 2, 2009

Ecologists report quantifiable measures of nature's services to humans

 Markets for Ecosystem Services

(Ecological Society of America) The idea of ecosystem services is a promising conservation concept but has been rarely put into practice. In a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, researchers use novel tools to report some of the first quantifiable results that place values on nature's services to humans.

"The idea of 'ecosystem services' – identifying and quantifying the resources and processes that nature provides for people – gives us a framework to measure nature's contribution to human well-being," write authors Peter Kareiva, guest editor for this issue and the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, and Susan Ruffo, director of ecosystem services programs at TNC, in an editorial in the issue. "It provides a credible way to link nature and people that goes beyond emotional arguments and points us toward practical solutions."

"In this Special Issue of Frontiers, we have assembled pioneering examples of the quantification of ecosystem services and nascent steps toward turning that quantification into a framework for better land and water management," Kareiva and Ruffo write.


"National governments around the world are taking note of ecosystem services," the authors conclude. "The time is right for integrating the value of natural assets into decision-making."

Ecologists report quantifiable measures of nature's services to humans

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