"Many of these goods and services are traditionally viewed as free benefits to society, or "public goods" - wildlife habitat and diversity, watershed services, carbon storage, and scenic landscapes, for example. Lacking a formal market, these natural assets are traditionally absent from society’s balance sheet; their critical contributions are often overlooked in public, corporate, and individual decision-making. When [sources of ecosystem services] are undervalued they are increasingly susceptible to development pressures and conversion. Recognizing [agricultural landscapes] as natural assets with economic and social value can help promote conservation and more responsible decision-making." From: Ecosystem Services, USDA Forest Service.
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