The value of biodiversity is not the same as its price

How much do species and ecosystems contribute to the size and growth of economies? How will the unprecedented rate of biodiversity loss affect economies in the future? The editorial of the Nature journal addressed some of these questions in the September 25, 2019 issue.

Most of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are in developing countries, including areas where biodiversity is protected by indigenous peoples. For many, an economic assessment, especially one led by Britain, will bring back uncomfortable memories of the age when scientists from developed countries came to nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America and took home biological samples for research and commercialization without permission — something the Convention on Biological Diversity now prohibits.

Establishing the value of biodiversity to economies is important, in part because it will help policymakers in all countries to appreciate that there’s a cost to losing nature. But at the same time, an economic assessment must take into account the perspectives of the humanities, of developing countries and of members of indigenous communities.

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