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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
December 19, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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December 19, 2014

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Conservancy -Iqmes Nature's value adds up to more than its beauty Ecosystems deliver goods and services essential to people BY ALEXA JOHNSON We've all stopped at some point to gaze at a beautiful view, glimpse a majestic wild animal or admire the complex architecture of a tree. In these moments, we value nature for its ability to make us feel good. But have you ever con- sidered the economic value of nature? Natural, functional ecosystems deliver goods and services that are essential to human welfare. Collectively, these vital functions are known as ecosystem services. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines eco- system services as "the many life-sustaining benefits we receive from nature." These crucial benefits are often tmdervalued because they usually accrue without our awareness of them. Nature gives us clean air and water and products like fish, lum- ber, livestock forage, wildlife hab- itat and fuel. Nature creates soil, processes waste, regulatesclimat e andpo!li- ' nates crops. Natural chemicals are the basis for modem medicines and everyday products like paint, Natural systems containing native plants, wildlife and ecological processes provide humans with a multitude of goods and services that are essential to life. Photo by Jack Baldelli textiles and lubricants. Altered ecosystems can lose their ability to provide these life-supporting benefits. The Catalina Island Conservancy is dedicated to pro- tecting Island ecosystems that pro- vide us with these essential natural services, knowing that beauty is btrt' One of those services. Avalon and Island natural landscapes offer refuge from modern urban life. Catalina's coast'and wild inte- rior go further with opportunities for hiking, camping and fishing as well as educational, spiritual and artistic retreat. We trace these valuable local commodities back to nature and ecosystem services. Can we put a price tag on these services? A 1997 study assigned the, world?s, ecosystem serviees. an annual value of $33 trillion. Conservancy Times, Page 13 Catalina's scenic wildlands provide a refuge from urban life. (Photo by Jack Baldelli) Forget the plastic DRINK THE Produces 5-7gda//ons No plastic waste Great for THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, December 19, 2014  9