Ecosytem Services

The property of any country is bound to the health of its natural environment. National economies are closely entwined with the forests, aquifers, coastlines and oceans, bugs and birds, and teaming life above and below the earth's surface. Though not widely understood or appreciated, nature's contribution to economic success is enormous.

CEEP faculty affiliate Heal reflects in a book whether we can "save our environment and grow our economy?" Using his lifetime of experience not only as a leading voice in the field, but as a green entrepreneur, activist, and advisor to governments and global organizations, Heal clearly and passionately demonstrates that the only way to achieve long-term economic growth is to protect our environment. 

Book cover

Former Ph.D. student Frank estimates the value of natural predators to agriculture.  The expansion of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that killed millions of bats, prompted increased use of pesticides as farmers substituted natural pest control by bats with synthetic pest control. Different counties were affected in different years as shown in the left figure. Strikingly, the increase in synthetic pesticide use led to an increase in infant mortality. The paper shows how ecosystem services are a valuable input in production and human-made substitutes can result in large negative spillovers.

Map of White Nose Syndrome