What are some examples of services provided by an ecosystem that are considered to have non-market values?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Market value is a value that can be measured in price.  The price is found when a thing is sold on the market.  But some things are public goods and cannot be sold.  This means that there is no way to assign a market value to them.  These things can have non-market value.

With regard to ecosystems, most of the non-market value comes from the enjoyment that people get from a pristine ecosystem.  There is no way to sell the enjoyment that can be derived from sitting on a clean beach or swimming in a clean ocean.  There is no way to sell the enjoyment gained by a birdwatcher in a canoe sitting in the middle of a wetland and watching birds.  These kinds of spiritual, recreational, aesthetic, and educational services cannot be valued on the market.  However, they clearly do have non-market values because people will spend money (in travel costs, in buying the canoe, etc) to enjoy these services.


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