Roundtable Can We Afford to Conserve Biodiversity? ALEXANDER JAMES, KEVIN J. GASTON, AND ANDREW BALMFORD ecent studies have highlighted the potentially system. Third, we projected the cost of purchasing land to ex- Renormous economic losses due to the degradation of pand this network for ecological representation; fourth, we biological diversity (Heywood 1995, Daily 1997). Environ- added the cost of managing these new areas effectively in mental goods and services provided by natural biological the future. Fifth, we estimated the scale of compensation re- systems have been valued at between $2.9 trillion and $33 tril- quired to meet the opportunity costs incurred by local peo- lion annually (Costanza et al. 1997, Pimentel et al. 1997), al- ple living in or near reserves. The sum of these five steps though some of these goods and services may depend more equals, very roughly, the annual cost of biodiversity conser- on biomass than on biological diversity per se (Myers 1996, vation within a global reserve system. Hector et al. 1999, Tilman 1999), it seems very likely that bio- Funding required in the wider matrix of landscapes includes diversity itself is worth several trillion dollars a year. the cost of conservation activities in the
BioScience – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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