Making the environment count
The idea that ecosystems have monetary value now has global support — and creates a route to protecting Earth’s endangered regions, argues a Nature editorial. Yesterday, the international community adopted a set of principles for measuring ecosystem health and calculating a monetary value, known as the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting. Some argue that nature is too valuable to be regarded in the same way as a commodity, or that valuation in the economic sense falsely suggests that someone has ownership rights over something that belongs to us all. The debates will continue, but agreement between the world’s statisticians is nevertheless an important step. “What we measure, we value, and what we value, we manage,” says United Nations chief economist Elliot Harris.
Nature | 5 min read • PDF version