We determined the relative benefits for eight categories of ecosystem goods and services associated with native and restored lands across the conterminous United States. Less than 10% of most native US ecosystems remain, and the proportion that is restored varies widely by biome. Restored lands offer 31% to 93% of native land benefits within a decade after restoration, with restored wetlands providing the most economic value and deserts providing the least. Restored ecosystems that recover rapidly and produce valuable commodities return a higher proportion of total value. The relative values of the benefits provided by restoration vary both by biome and by the ecosystem goods and services of interest. Our analysis confirms that conservation should be the first priority, but that restoration programs across broad geographic regions can have substantial value. “No net loss” policies should recognize that restored lands are not necessarily equivalent to native areas with regard to estimated ecosystem benefits.
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Vol. 58 • No. 9