How do you quantify the economic value of nature? Easy, to go to the Ecovalue website and poke around.

Ok, maybe it's not all that easy. But the Ecovalue team is trying to find out how, for example, forests play a role in human welfare and how ecosystems contribute goods to economies. It's true, isn't it, that a healthy soybean crop can add economic benefit to a community with an ethanol plant, right? Quantifying this on a broad scale is an amazing concept, and good to have online.

The trouble is, Ecovalue is not for the layman. I'm sure there's a lot of useful data to be had on the Ecovalue site, but for someone used to Google Earth, it's a little too complicated. Also, for now the site only contains data points for New Zealand, Maryland and the "Northern Forest" on the border of the eastern U.S. and Canada. Here's hoping the site evolves into something everyone can use.

[Source: The Ecovalue Project via GLRC]

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