Human society depends on vital goods and services provided by ecosystems. But human actions are eroding the ability of ecosystems to sustain these ecosystem services and conserve biodiversity.
Economic systems typically do not incorporate the full impact of production or consumption decisions on ecosystems. Unless we fix these systems to begin to properly account for the value of nature we are unlikely to see fundamental change necessary to sustain ecosystem services or conserve biodiversity.
Accurately assessing the value of nature and incorporating it into decision-making requires:
- Understanding the likely consequences of human actions on ecosystems and their ultimate impacts on vital services and biodiversity
- Ability to express and communicate the value of these impacts in terms readily understood by policymakers and the general public
- Tying understanding of impacts and values to public policy and market prices so that decision-makers face the full costs and benefits of choices.
Examples for how to mainstream the value of nature in decisions will be illustrated with using examples of landscape level analysis on the provision of ecosystem services and conservation of species, and accounting for the full costs of biofuel and fossil-fuel production and consumption.
About Prof. Polasky
Prof. Polasky holds a joint appointment between the Department of Applied Economics and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota.
Prof. Polasky was senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President´s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999.
He is a Research Fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Stockholm where he is visiting through June.
His research interests include biodiversity conservation, integrating ecological and economic analysis, ecosystem services, renewable energy, environmental regulation, and common property resources.
Linné Hall, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Lilla Frescativägen 4, Stockholm