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The Value of Soil’s Contributions to Ecosystem Services

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Global Soil Security

Part of the book series: Progress in Soil Science ((PROSOIL))


As a contribution to the 2015 Global Soil Security Conference, we estimated the value of ecosystem service contributions by soil. The general purpose of this estimate was to give soil a value with respect to natural capital, to compare that value to other values recognised in the global economy and to start a conversation among soil scientists and economist about the value of soil. In particular, we want to incite a conversation about the value of soil beyond that discussed using commodity prices. The simple estimate of the value ecosystem services from soil is approximately 11.4 trillion USD, which compares to the 2015 gross domestic product of the USA at 15 trillion USD. The original source used for this estimate has been updated. In general the updated values of global ecosystem service are now at 2.7 times the original, which likely increases our estimate by a similar multiplier. The concept of estimating a value for global ecosystem services is criticised by many economists. However, understanding the change in the value of soil for ecosystems services provision because of changes in soil management and use gives a valuation that is critical for policy decisions regarding soil security.

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Correspondence to Alex B. McBratney .

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McBratney, A.B., Morgan, C.L.S., Jarrett, L.E. (2017). The Value of Soil’s Contributions to Ecosystem Services. In: Field, D.J., Morgan, C.L.S., McBratney, A.B. (eds) Global Soil Security. Progress in Soil Science. Springer, Cham.

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