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Home » Library » The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

The authors estimated the economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 16 biomes, based on published studies and a few original calculations. For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which is outside the market) is estimated to be between $16 and 54 trillion/year (1997 U.S. dollars), with an average of $33 trillion/year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, this must be considered a minimum estimate.
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Key discussion points:

  • Ecosystem services provide an important portion of the total contribution to human welfare on this planet.
  • The estimated annual value of ecosystem services is US$16–54 trillion, with an estimated average of US$33 trillion. The real value is almost certainly much larger, even at the current margin. US$33 trillion is 1.8 times the current global GNP.
  • As natural capital and ecosystem services become more stressed and more ‘scarce’ in the future, we can only expect their value to increase.

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Last modified by Nate Lotze

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