Washington, October 17 (ANI): A preliminary research has revealed jaw-dropping dollar values of the "ecosystem services" of biomes like forests and coral reefs, rising to as much as 1.2 million dollars per hectare, per year.
Undertaken to help societies make better-informed choices, the economic research shows a single hectare of coral reef, for example, provides annual services to humans valued at US 130,000 dollars on average, rising to as much as 1.2 million dollars.
The work provides insights into the worth of ecosystems in human economic terms, according to economist Pavan Sukhdev of UNEP, head of a Cambridge, England-based project called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
Based on analysis of more than 80 coral reef valuation studies, the worth of services per hectare of coral reef breaks down as - food, raw materials, ornamental resources: average 1,100 dollars (up to 6,000 dollars); Climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, waste treatment / water purification, biological control: average 26,000 dollars (up to 35,000 dollars); cultural services: average 88,700 dollars (up to 1.1 million dollars), naintenance of genetic diversity: average 13,500 dollars (up to 57,000 dollars).
"Taken together, coral reef services worldwide have an average annual value estimated at 172 billion dollars," said Sukhdev.
He notes the growing scientific agreement that coral reefs are unlikely to survive if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels exceed 350 parts per million.
According to Sukhdev, negotiators of a new climate change deal in Copenhagen in December, however, "would be proud" to achieve an agreement that limits atmospheric carbon to 450 parts per million, which would be "a death sentence on the world's coral reefs."
Halving the destruction of tropical forests, meanwhile, would allow them to continue absorbing roughly 4.8 gigatonnes of carbon per year, slow the rise of atmospheric carbon levels and forestall anticipated climate change damage. (ANI)