Stephen Polasky

Valuing natural capital

Stephen Polasky
Fesler Lampert Professor of Ecological/ Environmental Economics, University of Minnesota
Day 1 13:30-14:30

Human society depends on vital goods and services provided by ecosystems but human actions are eroding the natural capital that underlies the provision of ecosystem services. Understanding how human actions impact upon natural capital and the value of ecosystem services derived from natural capital requires understanding the links between: a) human actions and impacts on ecosystem structure and function, b) the structure and function of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services, and c) the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being. The talk begins by laying out an integrated framework for making these links and then uses recent examples of integrated analysis on land use choices in the U.S. to illustrate how human actions affect the provision and value of various ecosystem services, and how such information could be used in a policy or management context.