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The economic value of biodiversity
Dimitris Dimopoulos, biologist Ph.D.

Τhere are no economies without environments, but there are environments without economies

Humans would not have appeared and survived on planet earth without the services of nature. Services of nature cannot be generated by technology on any noticeable scale. They are indivisible and cost-free available to all humans around the globe. The planet earth is a closed, a limited system as regards materials and surface areas.

Unlimited material growth is therefore not possible, and neither is continuous growth of the human population. There are five indirect drivers of changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services: demo-graphic, economic, sociopolitical, cultural and religious, and scientific and technological. The most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss and change in ecosystem services are habitat change-such as land use change, physical modification of rivers or water withdrawal from rivers, loss of coral reefs, and damage to sea floors due to trawling-climate change, invasive alien species, overexploita¬tion of species, and pollution.

The economic root cause for the continued destruction of the life-sustaining services of nature is the relatively low prices of natural resources that do not include the harmful consequences of their use. Inspired by the momentum for early action and policy change created by the ‘Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change’, the G8+5 environment ministers initiated a report on the economics of the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. If humans are to survive on this planet, action needs to be taken immediately.

d-dimop@otenet.gr

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • European Communities (2008). The economics of ecosystems & biodiversity. An interim report. A Banson Production, Cambridge, UK.
  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
  • Mulder, I.(2007). Biodiversity, the next challenge for financial institutions? Gland, Switzerland, IUCN.
  • Schmidt-Bleek, F. (2007). Future: Beyond climatic change. Position paper 08/01, Factor 10 Institute.
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2007). Global Environment Outlook GEO4. Progress Press Ltd, Valletta, Malta.
25/07/2008
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