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Nature

Financial Impact From Deforestation "Dwarfs" Failing Banks Says New Study

 

The world’s economy is suffering more from the loss of forests than from the current crisis on Wall Street, according to a new EU-commissioned study.

 

The study says that the cost of deforestation annually is between $2 and $5 trillion dollars.  These numbers were arrived at after researchers put value on, and then added together,  the many ways in which forests “work” for us, including absorbing CO2 from the air, and providing potable water.

The idea behind the study is that as forests disappear, the natural world no longer provides services which it used to provide for free.

So, the human economic system must step in and find a way to provide these same services, for example  through building reservoirs or building infrastructure to catch carbon dioxide.

“Whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today’s rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year,” Pavan Sukhdev, who led the study, told the BBC.

The review is called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), and was initiated by Germany, although the European Commission provided the funding.

The study has been a major topic of discussion at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conference currently being held in Barcelona.  There are conservationists who hope that data presented in this way will persuade lawmakers to put effort and funds towards the conservation of nature.

Source:  BBC

Photo:  Flickr under a Creative Commons License




4 comments
  1. Anthony J. Gerst

    Industrial Hemp, double cropped, highest cellulosic content in flora domain. Capable of replacing almost all uses of fossil fuels. Need a new economic standard for the globe? How about the carbon sequestering capabilites or water purification aspects, or better yet the fact that if will grow in all temperant climates.

  2. Adam Shake

    Meg, anouther great piece. Keep up the good work. As long as corn is king in this country (and the world), and as long as our government keeps funding farmers to grow it, deforestation will continue, the environment will continue to be polluted by companies like Dupont, and GMO seed companies like Monsanto will continue to thrive.

    Alter the Eco, girl!

    Adam Shake

  3. Abinet Alemaye

    Thanks for bringing attention to this interesting study. The ecosystem and biodiversity of southeast Ecuador are being destroyed at an alarming rate according to a video at:

    http://tseday.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/the-ethanol-lie/

    According to the video the cause is the high price of corn triggered by the huge US ethanol mandate. Lawmakers should be careful that taxpayer funds go towards real conservation and not towards a bad biofuels policy.

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