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Endangered EconomiesHow the Neglect of Nature Threatens Our Prosperity$
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Geoffrey Heal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231180849

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231180849.001.0001

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Natural Capital—Taken for Granted but Not Counted

Natural Capital—Taken for Granted but Not Counted

(p.111) 7 Natural Capital—Taken for Granted but Not Counted
Endangered Economies

Geoffrey Heal

Columbia University Press

Natural capital – the complex of objects and systems that constitutes the natural environment or the biosphere - plays a fundamental and irreplaceable role in human life, as stories as diverse as the evolution of Earth and its neighboring planets, or of Biosphere 2, clearly illustrate. In addition to being essential to humanity’s existence, it provides on a daily basis services of great but more quotidian importance, such as pollination, insurance against diseases, and drinking water. Yet many of these services go unnoticed and taken for granted, which is one reason why humanity permits the rampant destruction of natural capital, an asset class of great value.

Keywords:   Natural capital, Evolution, Biosphere, Watershed, Forest, Hydropower, Pollination, Bees, Panama Canal, Biodiversity, genetic variation, polymerase chain reaction, snow pack, Catskill watershed

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