November 13, 2009

UN Report Shows Value Of Conserving Ecosystems

A new UN report claims that by investing billions into saving biodiversity and ecosystems, groups could stand to earn trillions.

The report showed that world leaders must come together to ensure the safety of threatened species and ecosystems, or they will have to pay the price later.

"Recognizing and rewarding the value delivered to society by the natural environment must become a policy priority," said Pavan Sukhdev, lead author of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) paper released in Brussels.

The report is the first to estimate the monetary value of saving endangered ecosystems.

"We have now evaluated 1,100 studies ranging across different countries and different ecosystem services," said Sukhdev.

"And we find that with protected areas, for example, no matter how you slice the figures up you come up with a ratio of benefits to costs that's between 25-to-one and 100-to-one.

"Now we can say quite confidently that there is a solid benefit from investing in protected areas," he told BBC News.

"If we were to expand marine protection from less than 1 percent to 30 percent, say, what would that cost?"

"Establishing reserves, policing them and so on, would cost about $40-50bn per year - and the annual benefit would be about $4-5 trillion."

Sukhdev told AFP that climate change is a global issue with "local ramifications", while biodiversity is "a collection of local issues."


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