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Biodiversity as a natural resource
Date:5/21/2008

This press release is available in German.

Bonn/Berlin. What will the loss of biodiversity cost us in the long term" How much do national economies need to invest now in order to stop the trend" And what price will we have to pay if we do not act" These are the questions the TEEB -- The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity - project is seeking to answer. The pilot study led by Pavan Sukhdev, who is head of Deutsche Bank's Global Market Centre in London, was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the European Union. The BMU asked the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) to co-manage the scientific contributions to the study. Preliminary results will be presented at a press conference during the 9th UN Conference on Biological Diversity (COP9) in Bonn, Germany on 29 May, which will be followed by an event open to the general public the same evening.

"Biological diversity not only maintains the equilibrium of ecosystems, it is also an inexhaustible source of potential new drugs. It helps sustain a healthy food chain and promotes water and soil quality," says Prof. J├╝rgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association. "Its value goes far beyond anything we can describe using economic indices, yet the material benefits it offers humankind are also tremendous."

Five thousand United Nations delegates from 190 countries will gather in Bonn from 19 to 30 May 2008. During the conference, they will focus primarily on discussing potential ways to halt the steady decline of biological diversity. "We are currently experiencing the sixth wave of extinctions in the history of our planet; this one has primarily been caused by hu-mans encroaching on the habitats of other species. And we are only now beginning to understand the economic value of biological diversity," explains Mlynek.

Financial expert Pavan Sukh
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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