Nature's Services: Societal Dependence On Natural Ecosystems

Front Cover
Gretchen Cara Daily
Island Press, 1997 - Nature - 392 pages
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.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: major services including climate regulation, soil fertility, pollination, and pest control philosophical and economic issues of valuation case studies of specific ecosystems and services implication of recent findings and steps that must be taken to address the most pressing concerns 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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Although this book is outdated, it is a seminal publication in the ecosystem services literature and resource management in general. The entire book seeks to outline just how much humanity depends on natural ecosystems, including how our economy functions. Each chapter is a gold mine that lays out how society benefits from different ecosystems or aspects of ecosystems. A great academic read! 

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About the author (1997)

Gretchen C. Daily is Associate Professor at Stanford University. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is the author of many articles and editor of one of the most widely cited publications in modern environmental science, Nature’s Services (Island Press). Daily, an ecologist whose work ranges from conservation science to environmental policy analysis to public outreach, is one of three founders of the Natural Capital Project and serves as its chief emissary to financial and government leaders. She is working to develop a scientific basis -- and political and institutional support -- for managing Earth's life-support systems. Daily has published more than 150 scientific and popular articles. Her most recent book is The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, co-authored with journalist Katherine Ellison (2002, Island Press). She serves on the boards of The Nature Conservancy and the Beijer International Institute for Ecological Economics, and at Stanford she is Director of the Center for Conservation Biology.

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