Coral Reef Services Worth $1.2 Million
New research into the ecological dollar value of specific ecosystem services has stunned experts. The project known as the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity is run by Pavan Sukhdev, an economist in Cambridge, UK.
The project is evaluating certain ecosystems on the basis of their economic value, taking into account the services they provide such as climate regulation, providing food and pollution control. They analysed biomes such as coral reefs and forests.
The purpose of the project is to offer an actual cash value for as many biomes as they can so that societies and government agencies in the world concerned with the environment can make better informed choices. For instance just one hectare of coral reef is worth between $130,000 and $1.2 million annually due to the services it provides. Sukhdev explained that, “Taken together, coral reef services worldwide have an average annual value estimated at $172 billion.”
Sukhdev further described how “Investment in protected areas holds exceptional high returns,” for example an investment of $45 billion would provide “nature-based services worth some $4.5 to 5.2 trillion annually.” One case is in Vietnam where the government spent $1.1 million planting mangroves on their coast line which resulted in an annual saving of $ 7.3 million in dyke maintenance.
On 16th October more than 600 scientists attended the DIVERSITAS hosted international 2nd Open Science Conference. A spokes person at the conference said that “as we approach the 2010 Year of Biodiversity … the fabric out of which the Earth system is woven is unravelling at an accelerating rate.”
The statement went on to say that "At the same time, we are discovering ever more about biodiversity and the benefits it provides to people. It is clear that biodiversity loss erodes the integrity of ecosystems and their capacity to adapt in a changing world. It represents a serious risk to human wellbeing and a squandering of current assets and future opportunities.”