Quantifying the economic value of "ecosystem services" in Bay Area parks

The current issue of Estuary News includes another story by yours truly ... this time on the subject of how much parks are worth -- not in terms of day-use/parking fees, recreational opportunities, or even health benefits, but rather in terms of environmental benefits such as stormwater retention, air pollution mitigation, sea-level-rise buffering, and more. This latter class of critical benefits is known broadly as "ecosystem services," and recent efforts across the Bay Area have sought to ascribe them a specific economic value within a city, county, or parks system. The monetization of ecosystem services helps bolster the case for conservation and restoration in an era when the federal government itself seems to deem the environment and natural lands a poor investment.

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