Natural Capital and the Worth of Nature: Concepts and Tools for Planning and Decision-Making

Marta Ceroni, Fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and Senior Manager of Green Compass, LLC

Friday, May 18, 2012, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

The multiplicity of landscapes, ecosystems, and species on Earth is a source of important goods and services that sustain the economy at local and global scales. These goods and services are increasingly referred to as natural capital. Extending the economic notion of capital to the environment has implications for environmental sciences, economics, and ultimately decision-making. The presentation discusses concurrent and intersecting efforts from ecology, ecoinformatics, and environmental economics to make nature matter in decision-making. In particular Dr. Ceroni will discuss the growing expectations from the governmental, non-governmental, and business sectors in the field of economic valuation, markets for ecosystem services, and computer-based decision support systems.

About the Speaker

Marta Ceroni holds a Ph.D. in forest ecology from the University of Parma, Italy. After a post-doc at the University of Maryland focusing on the ability of wetlands to function as natural water purification mechanisms, she became Research Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont and worked at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics for the past ten years. Her research, teaching, and consulting focus on developing and using ecosystem service assessments to inform land use and conservation planning, policy making for sustainability, environmental compensations, and community development. Dr. Ceroni has received funding from NSF, USAID, USDA, and various foundations. From 2007 to 2010 she has been the coordinator of the ARIES project, an NSF funded effort to develop and apply computer technology to map ecosystem services and improve decision-making for sustainability. Her published work includes publications in the journals Environmental Management, Ecological Economics, Aquatic Conservation, International Journal of Environment, Workplace and Employment, and contributions to policy profile papers by United Nations Environmental Programme. Her recent work focuses on assessing the economic benefits of protected areas and market mechanisms for forest conservation in Eastern Europe where she serves as international expert to the United Nations Development Programme.