Natural capital facts for kids

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Mangrove swamp, Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan
Mangrove swamp at Iriomote Island, Japan, providing beneficial services of sediment accumulation, coastal protection, nursery and fish-spawning grounds which may in turn support coastal fishing communities. At least 35% of the world's stock of mangrove swamps has been destroyed in just 20 years
Honeybee (Apis mellifera) pollinating Avocado cv
Honeybee (Apis mellifera) pollinating an Avocado crop. Healthy stocks of wild and cultivated pollinator species are important to support the farming industry and help ensure food security.

Natural capital is a metaphor for the mineral, plant, and animal formations of the Earth's biosphere when viewed as a means of production of oxygen, water filter, erosion preventer, or provider of other ecosystem services.

In a traditional economic analysis of the factors of production, natural capital would usually be understood as "land" and therefore something else than "capital" in its original sense.

At the beginning of reflection about economics "land" was seen as something natural, but "capital" as man-made goods only.

But the benefits which humans have from nature are many. 17 of them were closely looked at by Robert Costanza. These benefits are in some ways similar to those that owners of "capital" have as their capital produces more goods, e.g. a factory which produces automobiles just as an apple tree produces apples.

This is an approach to ecosystem valuation, an alternative to the traditional view of all non-human life as passive natural resources. But human knowledge and understanding of the natural environment is never complete, and therefore we cannot yet know what natural capital means exactly.

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Natural capital Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.