natures services

Nature's services or ecosystem services are the base of the human service economy, consisting of those services provided directly to mankind by nature: water cycle, erosion prevention, pollination, etc.. They were first studied as a group by Herman Daly and Robert Costanza and give rise to the theory of natural capital. Conservative economists like Lester Thurow have endorsed the idea.

This principle is central to green economics, and is strongly emphasized in Natural Capitalism and the eco-capitalist mindset where direct payments for ecosystem services. All the services depend on ecosystem health very directly, and human well-being depends on them indirectly. The value of the services much exceeds the value of the entire human economy. The value of Earth itself can be calculated based on the ecological yield of commodities and these services.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nature's_services for a general reference.