Environmental Economics: A Short Evaluation of the Monetary Valuation of Ecosystem Goods and Services

Decent Essays

“Ecosystem service valuation” is the administration of monetary worth, relative worth, utility or importance to the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (MEA) grouped ecosystem services into four broad categories: (i) “provisioning services” - production of food and water; (ii) “regulating services” - control of climate and disease; (iii) “supporting services” - nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and (iv) “cultural services” - spiritual and recreational benefits. Examples of these services have been articulated by mass media as the way rainforests and wetlands affect global climate systems, or the devastation of codfish populations by overfishing. As human populations grow, so do the resource demands imposed on ecosystems and the impact of our global footprints. We know for certain that without the services provided by the ecosystem, the Earth would be uninhabitable for humanity. In this paper I will discuss the positives and negatives of the monetary valuation of ecosystem goods and services to demonstrate that without a doubt, assigning such a system to these services will aid in the creation of more sustainable development outcomes.
Sustainable development is understood as an organizing principle for human life on a finite planet, which works toward the preservation and endurance of diverse biological systems. Throughout history we have seen interdependence between economic growth and environmental

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