Value of Nature


What is valuable in society and how shall we protect it? This report, written by David Bollier, draws upon three days of discussion by twenty thinkers and activists convened by the Commons Strategies Group.

Xray of a fish

We don’t need any “reconciliation of the economy and ecology”. Instead, we should be saying no to destructive and exploitative projects and policies - and yes to a repoliticisation of environmental debate.

information graphic: Trade with 'reforestation credits' at the "Green Exchange"

An ecological crisis that is becoming increasingly hard to ignore is confronting policymakers with a dilemma: they are being called upon to protect the conditions for life on Earth without overly hampering industrial production and economic growth.


I would like to thank all contributors who took the time to comment on this discussion paper. They have contributed to a public debate about the assumptions and interests behind the new economy with "nature" and its valuation techniques.

Jutta Kill's paper "Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services: Recognizing Nature's Value or Pricing Nature's Destruction?" explores where the recent initiatives aimed at ending the economic invisibility of nature' differ from previous approaches to economic valuation of nature.


Creating the visibility to the economic eye requires abstractions that may in the end result in much more far-reaching changes to how we understand nature than initially imagined. There are three claims implied in this statement.


One of the great merits of Jutta Kill's timely discussion paper is that it shows why current debates over the economic valuation of nature matter.

Cover: Economic Valuation and Payment for Environmental Services:

This paper will explore where the recent initiatives aimed at "ending the economic invisibility of nature" differ from previous approaches to economic valuation of nature.

Taking Precaution on a Slippery Slope

The monetizing of nature is considered to be a promising tool stressing the economic relevance of environmental protection, however such an approach can pose social, cultural and ecological threats.


How far can a value be placed on the “services” of nature? Thomas Fatheuer provides a readily under-standable introduction to the subject and illuminates the concepts and instruments that fol-low from the idea of monetarizing nature. In his first chapter he explains the context of the debate.