Friday, October 17, 2008

How important are ecosystem services?

One controversial subject in ecology is putting values on natural resources. In discussion we talked about how ecosystems are valued, who creates the "values", the role of science in determining values, and whether science may be used to create criteria for measuring values. I referred to a recent paper by Leslie and McLeod (2007) that values marine ecosystem services as being "very important" to "not important"(p. 3 Figure 2).

As seen in this photo taken at a Tonnara in Sardinia (where Atlantic Bluefin Tuna have been harvested for hundreds of years), some ecosystems can be valued for multiple (and at times conflicting) reasons. For example, fishing can be valued for a variety of reasons including culture, food, employment, money, tourism and recreation.

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