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UMR Connects: What is nature worth? What economics can teach us about consersation in Minnesota

  • University Square 4th Floor 111 South Broadway Rochester, MN, 55904 United States (map)

The value of nature includes everything from the food we eat, to the water we drink, to our sense of place and belonging. Putting an economic value on the services nature provides can elevate these values in decision-making and change the way we approach conservation. Keeler will discuss how economists are mainstreaming nature's values into decisions here in Minnesota and around the world, and potential challenges or pitfalls of this approach. Dr. Bonnie Keeler is program director and lead scientist for the Natural Capital Project — a collaborative partnership between the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. At the Institute on the Environment, Keeler leads a team of experts in ecology, economics, and software development seeking to better communicate and quantify the value of nature. In collaboration with local and international partners, the Natural Capital Project has elevated the value of ecosystem services in decisions at local to regional scales, developed models and tools to support better management of agricultural and forested landscapes, and advanced the research and implementation of nature-based solutions around the world. Bonnie’s particular expertise is in better understanding and capturing the multiple values of clean water using biophysical and economic approaches. She also oversees projects on the recreation and mental health benefits of urban parks, the costs and benefits of conservation and restoration, and the sustainable management of agricultural landscapes. Keeler earned both her PhD and MS from the University of Minnesota.