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This event was organised jointly by the British Ecological Society (BES) and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

You can find out more about this topic in our case study Mapping the value of nature, which explores one GIS technique used to map the relative value provided to humanity by protected areas and other ecosystems.


Event details

There is great interest amongst scientists, economists and policy-makers in the possibility of quantifying the value of the nature. Without putting a price, economic or otherwise, on natural assets, underpinning the delivery of life-support services (‘ecosystem services’) essential to humankind, so the argument goes, nature is ignored in decision-making, becoming ever-more degraded.

But what difference is an emphasis on valuation making to the practical conservation of biodiversity and landscape management in the UK? How is valuation affecting business decisions and consumer choices? Is there the scientific evidence base to underpin these developments? And finally, is it moral to put a price on nature at all?



  • Professor Rosemary Hails MBE, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Member of the Natural Capital Committee, and Chair of the Natural Capital Initiative

  • Dr Tom Crompton, Change Strategist, WWF-UK

  • Professor Sarah Whatmore FRGS, Professor of Environment and Public Policy, Head of the School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University

Chair: Fred Pearce, New Scientist


About the Environment & Society Forum series

This event was delivered as part of the Environment & Society Forum series. ESF events address major policy challenges by bringing geographers into dialogue with stakeholders in business, government and research.

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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY NC 4.0), which permits use, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is cited and it is for non-commercial purposes. Please contact us for other uses.

How to cite

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Association for Geographic Information (2019). Putting a price on the priceless: valuing nature?. Case study. [online] Available at:   Last accessed on: <date>


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