In a report dedicated to finding the economic implications of protecting nature, more than 100 economists and scientists found new evidence that the nature conservation sector drives economic growth, delivers key non-monetary benefits and is a net contributor to a resilient global economy.
“The findings follow growing scientific evidence that at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean must be protected to address the alarming collapse of the natural world, which now threatens up to one million species with extinction,” according to a press release from Campaign for Nature.
The report, “Protecting 30% of the planet for nature: costs, benefits and economic implications,” is the first ever analysis of protected area impacts across multiple economic sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry, in addition to the nature conservation sector. The report measures the financial impacts of protected areas on the global economy and ecosystem services, including climate change mitigation, flood protection, clean water provision and soil conservation.
Currently, some 15% of the world’s land and 7% of the ocean has some degree of protection. The report finds that the additional protections would lead to an average of $250 billion in increased economic output annually and an average of $350 billion in improved ecosystem services annually compared with the status quo.
Protecting natural areas also provides significant mental and physical health benefits. A recent study estimated the economic value of protected areas based on the improved mental health of visitors to be $6 trillion annually.
“Our report shows that protection in today’s economy brings in more revenue than the alternatives and likely adds revenue to agriculture and forestry, while helping prevent climate change, water crises, biodiversity loss and disease. Increasing nature protection is sound policy for governments juggling multiple interests. You cannot put a price tag on nature — but the economic numbers point to its protection,” says Anthony Waldron, the lead author.
“Investing to protect nature would represent less than one-third of the amount that governments spend on subsidies to activities that destroy nature. It would represent 0.16% of global GDP and require less investment than the world spends on video games every year,” says Enric Sala, co-author of this report and author of the forthcoming book “The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild.”
You can read the entire report here (www.conservation.cam.ac.uk/files/waldron_report_30_by_30_publish.pdf) or learn more at campaingfornature.org.