ECONOMICS OF BIODIVERSITY &
THE VALUE OF SPECIES:
HOW DO WE ALLOCATE FUNDS TO PROTECT DIVERSITY?
“Everything, whether measured in monetary or physical units, is amenable to economic reasoning provided it is scarce (or may become so in the future) and is appreciated by at least some members of the human community.” (Hampicke 1994: 219)
Economics and the environment are inextricably linked, as natural resources are the basis of production, manufacturing, and waste disposal. Conceivably the reason why economics is central to biodiversity conservation is because unless it makes definite economic and financial sense for people to conserve biodiversity, it is highly unlikely that individuals will actually do so. People will continue to contribute to the loss of biodiversity by their day to day activity, such as clearing land for agriculture and harvesting timber, as it is more profitable and economically desirable to do so.
The environment is valuable to society because it provides life-support systems, goods such as the supply of materials and energy, and functions such as the absorption of pollution and waste where the environment acts as a sink (Blignaut 2002). It is generally assumed that the greater the diversity the more sustainable an environment is thus making society better off. This stems from the fact that the more diverse an ecosystem the more links in the food chain thus resulting in stability in the ecosystem. Obviously the more plants there are the more food for other animals and the more oxygen available. also the protection of endemic species such as plants maximizes their bioprospecting potential. The presence of more genes available in a diverse ecosystem leads to increased chances of survival through adaptation.
Food security and the discovery of new medicines are put at risk by the loss of biodiversity. Those who are pro-conservation site that species are of value as they may have extractive uses, such as wildflower...