Ecosystem Services Valuation in Canada

moneytree.jpgJames Cascio at Worldchanging points us to an article in the CBC about the valuation of Canada’s boreal forest – the vast forest that covers almost 60% of the country. The bottom line – all the timber in Canada, plus hydropower, plus mining under the forest is worth substantially less than the value of the services the forest provides if left intact – C$37.8 billion vs C$93.2 billion.
This kind of economic reasoning is still difficult for some people to get their heads around, but because it uses hard, economic language and is based in real scientific study, it’s a fantastic way to begin explaining it to people who otherwise view environmental preservation as not related to the economy. The best quote from the article comes from professor David Shindler of the University of Alberta:

The concept is rather like being given a Mercedes Benz, told to go drive it, and we do – but we never service it or maintain it or anything,” he said. “That’s sort of what we’re doing with the boreal forest.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He was instrumental in the creation of TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years as well as an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.