Healthy ecosystems provide fertile soil, clean water and air, as well as natural resources such as timber and food. They help protect us from floods and the spread of diseases and also help moderate complex climate and hydrological systems. These and other “ecosystem services” are fundamental to our survival.
Natural capital is the land, air, water, living organisms and all formations of the Earth’s biosphere that provide us with ecosystem goods and services imperative for human survival and well-being.
Oh and it is also the basis for all human economic activity!
Like a savings account, natural capital can pay interest or be liquidated. If a tree is chopped down for firewood, the capital has been spent. However, if the tree is retained and preserved, it can deliver (perhaps much higher) value through the ecosystem services of shade, air filtration, carbon sequestration and erosion control.
Check out the new report, info-graphic and video from Clean Air Partnership that highlights why natural capital matters and provides more information on all the great work being done to develop an economic value for the services provided to society by our ecosystems.