Economics of Nature: Mapping Liberia’s Ecosystems to Understand Their Value


The project is a joint effort to pilot an innovative and replicable approach to more accurately map ecosystems to support effective planning and sustainable decision-making.

Conservation scientist Trond Larsen and his team trekked through a remote forest in Liberia, recording the plants, animals, and insects that they saw. They noted whether the forest was intact or degraded. Far above their heads, NASA’s Earth-observing satellites collected data about the terrain as the satellites continued their well-travelled orbits over Africa.

The data collected by the team and the satellites will be used by the Liberian government and the global non-profit Conservation International to factor the country’s natural resources and ecosystems into its economic planning. This process is known as ecosystem accounting and helps to meet the standards outlined in the United Nation’s System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).

This project supports the goals of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa that includes 18 African countries, including Liberia, committed to ecosystem accounting for their natural resources and ecosystems.

Continue reading at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center