Acehnese plant mangrove trees at the site of a former housing development which was destroyed by last December’s tsunami in Meuraksa near Banda Aceh April 11, 2005. The local government and Acehnese started planting thousands of mangroves in the area after the tsunami devastated the city. REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva en/KSWould you pay $1,000 a year for a remote patch of mangrove swamp?

Maybe not — but more and more environmental economists are arguing that you should.

And they say that the worst financial crisis in 80 years could be a good opportunity to overhaul the world’s economic system and put a price tag on what are often viewed as “free” services from nature, ranging from coral reefs’ role as nurseries for fish, to wetlands’ ability to purify water. See the story here.

Markets failed to regulate banks in the current crunch and they are doing even less to slow global warming that the U.N. Climate Panel projects will bring far bigger economic problems — more droughts, floods, heatwaves that disrupt food and water supplies and rising seas that could swamp low-lying coasts from Bangladesh to Florida.  A pair of scarlet macaws perch on a tree in Bolivia’s Machia Park in Villa Tunari in the Bolivian Amazon jungle 520 km (323 miles) southeast of La Paz August 17, 2005. The 38-hectare park, created in 1992, is now home to nearly 1,000 animal inhabitants, all rescued from captivity. It has become a popular destination for many foreigners traveling through Bolivia, with dozens of Europeans, Israelis and Bolivians working together for several weeks in close contact with the animals. These volunteers consider the experience therapeutic for both the animals and themselves, and aim to readapt the animals to their natural habitat and eventually release them into the wild. Picture taken August 17, 2005. REUTERS/David Mercado PP05080156 RR/KS

In a 2006 report into the costs of global warming, former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said: “Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.”

Of course it’s hard to place a fair value on the natural world. What’s the value of the mid-Atlantic Ocean? What would you pay to try to stop the accelerating melt of Arctic sea ice in summer? What’s the price of the Amazon rainforest’s ability to soak up greenhouse gases?