Valuing ecological systems and services

Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski, David Ervin, Randy Bluffstone, James Boyd, Darrell Brown, Heejun Chang, Veronica Dujon, Elise Granek, Stephen Polasky, Vivek Shandas, Alan Yeakley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Making trade-offs between ecological services and other contributors to human well-being is a difficult but critical process that requires valuation. This allows both better recognition of the ecological, social, and economic trade-offs and also allows us to bill those who use up or destroy ecological services and reward those that produce or enhance them. It also aids improved ecosystems policy. In this paper we clarify some of the controversies in defining the contributions to human well-being from functioning ecosystems, many of which people are not even aware of.We go on to describe the applicability of the various valuation methods that can be used in estimating the benefits of ecosystem services. Finally, we describe some recent case studies and lay out the research agenda for ecosystem services analysis, modeling, and valuation going forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalF1000 Biology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


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