The Wealth of Nature: Valuing Ecosystem Services

In May, 2009, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report titled “Valuing the Protection of Ecological Systems and Services” (U.S. EPA, 2009). I was a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board’s Committee on Valuing the Protection of Ecological Systems and Services (C-VPESS) that produced the Report. In this paper, I will try to clarify what we mean by the terms “ecosystem services,” “value,” and “the wealth of nature.” I will also try to see what lessons can be drawn from the C-VPESS Report and the 5 years of Committee deliberations that lie behind it and what conclusions and implications this work has for EEPSEA researchers working in the field of the economics of natural resources.

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Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia