Policy ForumEcology

The Value of Nature and the Nature of Value

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Science  21 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5478, pp. 395-396
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5478.395

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Summary

Ecosystems are capital assets: When properly managed, they yield a flow of vital goods and services. Relative to other forms of capital, however, ecosystems are poorly understood, scarcely monitored, and--in many important cases--undergoing rapid degradation. The process of economic valuation could greatly improve stewardship. This potential is now being realized with innovative financial instruments and institutional arrangements.