How much money is soil biodiversity worth?


This paper estimates that the economic value of the ecological services provided by soil biota is approximately $US 1.5 trillion.

Research findings

Recent estimates of the economic value of the ecological services provided by soil biota have been summarized in this paper. The potential value globally is about $US 1.5 trillion (or US$1,500,000,000,000. This immense quantity includes:

  • Recycling of organic wastes (~$US 760 billion),
  • Bio-remediation of polluted soils and water (~$US 121 billion),
  • Nitrogen fixation by micro-organisms (~$US 90 billion).

These monetary values may have seemed unimaginable in 2007. However, the global financial crisis familiarised all of us with billions and trillions (in $US) as part of the various economic stimulus programs that have been put into place by governments around the world.


Brussaard L, dr Ruiter PC and Brown GG. (2007) Soil biodiversity for agricultural sustainability. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 121: 233-244. Read Abstract


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