Mattia Preti Plato and Diogenes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Think the concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services are new ideas? Think again! Classical Greek Philosopher, Plato, connected deforestation to soil erosion and water availability, (“the drying of springs”) as far back as 400BC! (Daily, 1997, pp. 5–6).

He complained that: “the loss of timber had denuded the hills and plains surrounding Athens and caused massive soil erosion” (Williams, 2006).

Later, in the first century AD, Pliny the Elder recognized the link between deforestation, rainfall and the occurrence of ‘torrents’ (unusual weather events) (Andréassian, 2004).