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About usWho are we?Green Office GroningenCourse: Sustainability Myth Busters 2016

November 21

Faculty of Spatial Sciences

Nature is priceless, right?

By: Dr. Frans Sijtsma

The role of nature and landscape is intricate in the search for sustainable development. Economic development processes throughout the world cause many natural areas to transform to either urbanized areas or to intensively used agricultural, forestry or mining areas. So it is clear that nature has little value, right?

Right and wrong! With a more mature economic development a re-appreciation of the natural takes place since nature and natural areas are important elements in the development of man’s higher needs. Within well-developed economies we therefore witness increased attention for protection and re-appreciation of nature in many aspects. This may relate to biodiversity concerns and loss of species richness or diversity of ecosystems. But it may also relate to nature-related leisure and recreation as well as to nature-related higher-needs activities that center around feeling connected to nature and peak experiences in nature.

But measuring the value of nature is surely very intricate and complex. We can't possibly value the intrinsic existence value of nature, right? We can't counterbalance hard economic money values with soft nature values, can we? Haven't scholars struggled for decades to price priceless nature?


Compared to a Hubble telescope or a DNA test measuring the value of nature is actually quite simple, if we understand a few basic fundamental notions. Still what is holding us back in using these simple valuation tools? Can we discover this together?

Recommended / optional reading:
Class evaluation

Laatst gewijzigd:03 november 2017 11:42