What's Nature Worth?

I just read a very interesting article in the Washington Post profiling Gretchen Daily. Daily is at the forefront of a movement called "natural capital" and co-founder of the Natural Capital Project.

Never heard of natural capital? Neither had I, but it's what conservationists have been advocating for years. The article explains it this way: "It is rooted in the idea that nature has a measurable value to humans and that protection efforts must go far beyond walled-off reserves and be broadly integrated into development practice and planning."

The Natural Capital Project helps groups show that nature is an essential part of prosperity and should be considered in “all major decisions.”
 
Often a place of natural beauty is ruined by the development built to enjoy that very nature. The Post article cites the mangrove forests of Colombia, where trees have been cut down and crowded out to build roads and hotels. A more thoughtful approach would be to integrate the mangroves into a development, enhancing its value.

While I'm not convinced this is the sole answer to the problem of over-development and taking nature for granted, it does raise nature to an equal partner and demand that it be given consideration when weighing the pros and cons of human intervention.