Research Article

Bringing Ecosystem Services into Economic Decision-Making: Land Use in the United Kingdom

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Science  05 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6141, pp. 45-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234379

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Monitoring Land Use

Land-use decisions are based largely on agricultural market values. However, such decisions can lead to losses of ecosystem services, such as the provision of wildlife habitat or recreational space, the magnitude of which may overwhelm any market agricultural benefits. In a research project forming part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, Bateman et al. (p. 45) estimate the value of these net losses. Policies that recognize the diversity and complexity of the natural environment can target changes to different areas so as to radically improve land use in terms of agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions, recreation, and wild species habitat and diversity.

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