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Environmental Values

On the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services

Mark Sagoff

Environmental Values 17(2008): 239-257. doi: 10.3197/096327108X303873

ABSTRACT

The productive services of nature, such as the ability of fertile soil to grow crops, receive low market prices not because markets fail but because many natural resources, such as good cropland, are abundant relative to effective demand. Even when one pays nothing for a service such as that the wind provides in pollinating crops, this is its 'correct' market price if the supply is adequate and free. The paper argues that ecological services are either too 'lumpy' to price in incremental units (for example, climatic systems), priced competitively, or too cheap to meter. The paper considers counter-examples and objections.


KEYWORDS

Ecosystems, valuation, economics

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Value Theory in Ecological Economics: The Contribution of a Political Economy of Wealth. Ali Douai

Ecosystem Services and Sacred Natural Sites: Reconciling Material and Non-material Values in Nature Conservation.Shonil A. Bhagwat

Value Typology in Cost-Benefit Analysis. Seth D. Baum


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