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In an undated file photo, a brood of young waterfowl find a perch in the middle of the 18-acre wetland on a farm in southern Minnesota' Freeborn County. Wetlands filter pollution from water and help control flooding. Economist Steve Polasky is working to assign a dollar value to wetlands and other aspects of nature that benefit people. Dan Olson/MPR News 91.3 FM

Economist tries to place a dollar value on nature

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Scientists in Minnesota are trying to do something that may be impossible: put a dollar value on nature.

Nature performs many important functions that benefit humans -- not just offering beauty but cleaning water, taming floods and pollinating crops. Some researchers think it's time to put a dollar value on those natural processes.

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