Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems

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<p>Life itself as well as the entire human economy depends on goods and services provided by earth's natural systems. The processes of cleansing, recycling, and renewal, along with goods such as seafood, forage, and timber, are worth many trillions of dollars annually, and nothing could live without them. Yet growing human impacts on the environment are profoundly disrupting the functioning of natural systems and imperiling the delivery of these services.<p>Nature's Services brings together world-renowned scientists from a variety of
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Overview

<p>Life itself as well as the entire human economy depends on goods and services provided by earth's natural systems. The processes of cleansing, recycling, and renewal, along with goods such as seafood, forage, and timber, are worth many trillions of dollars annually, and nothing could live without them. Yet growing human impacts on the environment are profoundly disrupting the functioning of natural systems and imperiling the delivery of these services.<p>Nature's Services brings together world-renowned scientists from a variety of disciplines to examine the character and value of ecosystem services, the damage that has been done to them, and the consequent implications for human society. Contributors including Paul R. Ehrlich, Donald Kennedy, Pamela A. Matson, Robert Costanza, Gary Paul Nabhan, Jane Lubchenco, Sandra Postel, and Norman Myers present a detailed synthesis of our current understanding of a suite of ecosystem services and a preliminary assessment of their economic value. Chapters consider: <ul> <li>major services including climate regulation, soil fertility, pollination, and pest control <li>philosophical and economic issues of valuation <li>case studies of specific ecosystems and services <li>implication of recent findings and steps that must be taken to address the most pressing concerns </ul> Nature's Services represents one of the first efforts by scientists to provide an overview of the many benefits and services that nature offers to people and the extent to which we are all vitally dependent on those services. The book enhances our understanding of the value of the natural systems that surround us and can play an essential role in encouraging greater efforts to protect the earth's basic life-support systems before it is too late.
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Editorial Reviews

Environment
"...the authors define ecosystem services, summarize historical perspectives, offer means of monetary valuation, and present some specific categories of damage.... [This] volume performs a highly valuable service, alerting readers in economic terms of the ultimately genocidal shortsightedness of abusing global biosphere."
The San Francisco Chronicle
"Cited in profile on Gretchen Daily."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559634755
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Table of Contents

Contributors
Preface
Perspectives on Nature's Services
1 Introduction: What Are Ecosystem Services? 1
2 Ecosystem Services: A Fragmentary History 11
3 Valuing Ecosystem Services: Philosophical Bases and Empirical Methods 23
4 Valuing Ecosystem Services with Efficiency, Fairness, and Sustainability as Goals 49
5 The Interaction of Climate and Life 71
6 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning 93
7 Ecosystem Services Supplied by Soil 113
8 Services Provided by Pollinators 133
9 Natural Pest Control Services and Agriculture 151
10 Marine Ecosystem Services 177
11 Freshwater Ecosystem Services 195
12 The World's Forests and Their Ecosystem Services 215
13 Ecosystem Services in Grasslands 237
14 Biodiversity's Genetic Library 255
15 Impacts of Marine Resource Extraction on Ecosystem Services and Sustainability 275
16 Ecosystem Services in Subsistence Economies and Conservation of Biodiversity 295
17 Ecosystem Services in a Modern Economy: Gunnison County, Colorado 311
18 Water Quality Improvement by Wetlands 329
19 Services Supplied by South African Fynbos Ecosystems 345
20 Valuing and Safeguarding Earth's Life-Support Systems 365
Index 375
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