EU considers valuing nature to halt biodiversity loss

Biodiversity | Climate Change

Julia, | 14/07/11 | Europe

The EU has proposed incorporating the economic value of biodiversity into its decision-making, accounting and reporting systems, as part of a new strategy that aims to protect and restore some of Europe's most vulnerable habitats. The idea of pricing natural systems was introduced by the World Bank at the Nagoya biodiversity summit in November 2010 and this proposal is in response to alarming statistics about Europe’s natural resources - 25 per cent of European fauna is at risk of extinction, 88 per cent of fish stocks are over-exploited or significantly depleted, and many ecosystems are so degraded that they can no longer deliver the services society depends on, such as crop pollination, clean air and water, and flood control.

The EU believes that a new biodiversity accounting system would help the bloc meet targets that aim to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, and protect, value and restore EU biodiversity and ecosystem services by the middle of the century. "We are spending our natural capital too fast - and we all know what happens when we borrow beyond our means. We should all be aware of the severity of this situation and our past failures to address the problem" said Janez Potočnik, the EU's environment commissioner.

Along the same lines in the UK scientists released a report in June, 2011, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, which included the results of an innovative, holistic method of assessment conducted to determine the monetary values of UK natural environments and how they benefit economy and society.

The idea of marketising ecosystem services is a topic that could be the focus of a students’ debate. How can we put a price on the natural world? What are the problems and challenges with pricing an ecosystem/species/habitat? Could this be also used as a stimulus for an IBSE activity? Could children come up with a pricing system for their local biodiversity?

Expand to view comments | 5 comments


This is important. I would like to propose a natureright system whereby the use of animal and plant images are linked to payment of a licence fee that goes to support conservation and habitat protection. For example, the polar bears in Coca Cola advertising would be chargeable at a particular rate that goes to Arctic or polar bear conservation.

by Sarah D | 13/12/11 04:54:12

Interesting idea!

by julia.willison | 11/01/12 01:00:01

why is my comment that is written in English and posted on the English page also appearing on the German page?

by julia.willison | 11/01/12 01:01:01

Op zich vind ik dat een goed voorstel maar eigenlijk is het erg dat we niet zelfsprekend rekening kunnen houden met natuur. Opkomen voor natuur betekent niet dat we ons enkel moeten richten op gebieden met een hoge natuurwaarde. Geen enkel natuurgebied mag opgegeven worden. Het is niet omdat een natuurgebied niet echt waardevol is dat het mag verdwijnen om er bv een weg door te trekken. Voor buurtbewoners heeft dit gebied wel een maatschappelijke waarde en dit is niet in geld uit te drukken. Mensen willen enkel 'hun' natuurgebied behouden wat de waarde ook moge zijn van het natuurgebied. door krist.tack | 14, Dec 2011 09:41:12

by krist.tack | 13/07/12 06:15:07

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