Lakes face threats from human activities like unsustainable development,
population growth, and industrial technologies. These challenges impact
the ecosystem services of lakes. Research has assessed the value of
services from freshwater biomes annually. This article reviews these
values, estimating lakes’ global ecosystem services to be within the
region of USD 1.5 to 5.5 trillion annually. Their natural asset value is
estimated at USD 100 - 337 trillion, comparable to value of global real
estate, assuming a relatively high social discount rate to account for
future increased standard of livings. Considering environmental
degradation, future generations may experience a lower living standard.
Using a 0.1% discount rate, recognizing potential harm and aligning
with indigenous values, raises the lakes’ value to USD 1,500 - 5,500
trillion which is at least equal to the global value of wealth created.
This valuation is shared by all, unlike the skewed distribution of