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Values of the Natural World

  • Inputs of raw materials and energy
  • Operation as a Waste Assimilation Sink
  • Amenity values like the aesthetic of scenery plus recreation and other sources of utility.
  • Life-sustaining services such as the water cycle, the nutrient cycle, climate regulation, and maintenance of the atmosphere.
  • In addition, some economists add use and existence values to the equation. Use value requires some utilization of the environmental good (fishing or sightseeing in a park). Existence values are more intangible as non-use and are needed to measure benefits that people who never use the good get from just knowing the resource exists (a protected wildlife refuge in a far-off land).
  • Even more intangible, controversial, and hard to quantify is option value: the value placed upon a resource when its future supply or demand is uncertain.
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