USGS identifier

Table 1--Values of Natural Resources

Ecologists and economists have collaborated to begin placing dollar values on a vast array of benefits and services provided to humans by ecosystems. Estimates range from $3 trillion to $30 trillion per year. Typical ecosystem services include fish provided by the sea, feed for cattle provided by grasslands, and tropical hardwoods provided by forests. This table exemplifies one attempt to place a price on nature and provides a basis for understanding the tradeoff that must be made when a wetland, for example, is destroyed.

(million ha)**
Global value
Open ocean33,2002528.4
Tropical forest1,9002,0073.8
Other forests2,955302.9
Lakes and rivers2008,4981.7
Total worth of the biosphere $33.3

* Desert, tundra, urban, and ice/rock ecosystems are omitted.
** Area in hectares (ha). 1 ha=100 square meters =2.471 acres.

Table 1. Values of natural resources.

[Reprinted with permission from Roush, W., 1997, Putting a price on nature's bounty: Science, v. 276, p. 1029. Copyright 1997, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Data from Costanza, R., and others, 1997, The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital: Nature, v. 387, p. 256]

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