What is the world worth these days?
February 18, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Ecological Economics filter: Is there a more current estimate of the global value of ecosystem services than Costanza's 1997 estimate of $33 trillion?

I'm TAing a first year university course in resource management, and this week's topic is ecosystem valuation. The article we're reading is a follow-up by Costanza to his seminal 1997 article on the value of the world's ecosystem services, which was estimated at $33 trillion USD.

Ecological economics is not my field, and while I am familiar with the Costanza paper, it seems kind of old now. Is there a newer estimate in the same vein as Costanza, or has the field evolved such that a one-number estimate isn't how it's done now? I did a preliminary search, but most articles seem to focus on valuation at a smaller scale.

Should I be looking to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment work?

This is all just to give me discussion fodder for my tutorials, and since it's a first year course, I don't need to get into the nitty-gritty of ecological economics. If anyone has a citation or author they could point me to, that would be great!
posted by just_ducky to Education (4 answers total)
A different take on this question via Lee Billings at BoingBoing put Earth's value emerged as nearly 5 quadrillion dollars.
posted by HLD at 6:04 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm not familiar with attempts to estimate global services, but I do know that there has been some good work on some sub-systems like fisheries and bee pollination. Even so, I think estimates are very rough, and maybe range over an order of magnitude or so (although even at the low end the estimated value is enormous). If this is for a discussion section, maybe it would be interesting to pick one subsystem like pollination and discuss why it is challenging to estimate the value precisely, but at the same time we can be sure that the value is quite large?
posted by JumpW at 7:35 PM on February 18, 2011

If it's anywhere, it would be in the TEEB report released in October 2010.

TEEB = The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 4:02 AM on February 19, 2011

A good idea if you are trying to find more up to date articles following on from an older but seminal article is to use Google Scholar, once you are in google scholar search for the old article click on where it says times cited: 5548 then you will have the opportunity to search only within the article that have since cited the original. Since the work is seminal it is bound to be cited in any more up to date treatment of the same material. You can then use different search terms, years etc, to narrow down the options until you find something you want.
posted by biffa at 2:01 PM on February 19, 2011

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