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Valuing nature, measuring well-being

Since the 1940s, we have been measuring economic progress from a single, narrow viewpoint: gross domestic product. But what does this actually mean for people and communities?

Rainforest: use it or lose it

Years ago, “save the rainforest” was a slogan that entrenched the man-versus-nature mindset. Today, conservationists increasingly understand that preserving the rainforests must go hand in hand with promoting the rural livelihoods of the people who live there.

How India is capitalizing on natural benefits from its forests

Ecosystem services are increasingly regarded as a vital concept in conservation—helping governments, communities and businesses understand the value of the natural and cultural resources that sustain them. Last week, Madhu Verma shared her experiences defining the value of forest ecosystem services in India.

A sustainable Haiti

It’s been more than two years since the unprecedented earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 300,000 people and left over a million homeless. That’s just enough time for media attention to drift away and relief efforts to dwindle, but not quite long enough for any real economic or social resurgence to take root.

Regional conservation

Portland is constantly touted as one of America’s greenest cities. But there’s more to it than an affinity for public transit and renewable energy—Portland has an abundance of natural green space that reaches beyond city limits to support communities, ecosystems, and economies throughout the region.

Nature does it better

What would Mother Nature say about the way we spend precious conservation dollars? By quantifying nature’s benefits, Willamette Partnership is able to translate restoration efforts into metrics that are meaningful to industry and consumers.

Eco-restoration your way

Ecosystem services are a hot topic in academic and environmental circles. But a lot of these natural services—like carbon sequestration, erosion control, or drought mitigation—are pretty technical for the average person. Instead of pricing ecosystem services based on their function, visiting economics professor Sahan Dissanayake looks at the values held by regular people.

How do we value nature?

Some people balk at the idea of putting a price tag on nature. How can we assign a dollar value to a majestic view of Mount Hood, or healthy salmon running up their home stream?

Just enough nitrogen for our ecosystem

We don’t often think of nitrogen as a basic necessity—like food, water, or shelter. But while we cannot survive without nitrogen, too much is harmful as well. What we need is not too much, not too little, but just enough of a good thing.

Technology roadmaps for the future

From 3D TVs to wind turbines, new technologies seem to pop up every day. Using “technology roadmaps,” Associate Professor Tugral Daim helps companies, governments, and communities prioritize the needs of technology—improving inter-agency communication while integrating technological considerations into products and services.