The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital

Robert Costanza, Ralph D'Arge, Rudolf De Groot, Stephen Farber, Monica Grasso, Bruce Hannon, Karin Limburg, Shahid Naeem, Robert V. O'Neill, Jose Paruelo, Robert G. Raskin, Paul Sutton, Marjan Van Den Belt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The services of ecological systems and the natural capital stocks that produce them are critical to the functioning of the Earth's life-support system. They contribute to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, and therefore represent part of the total economic value of the planet. We have estimated the current economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 18 biomes, based on published studies and a few original calculations. For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which in outside the market) in estimated to be in the range of US$16-54 trillion (1012) per year, with in average of US$33 trillion per year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, thin must be considered a minimum estimate. Global gross national product total is around US$18 trillion per year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
Issue number6630
StatePublished - May 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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