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New study finds biodiversity conservation secures ecosystem services for people
Date:12/5/2007

Arlington, Virginia (Dec. 5, 2007) Healthy ecosystems that provide people with essential natural goods and services often overlap with regions rich in biological diversity, underscoring that conserving one also protects the other, according to a new study.

Titled Global Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the report confirms the value of making biological diversity a priority for conservation efforts. It shows that more than 70 percent of the worlds highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation also contain significant value in ecosystem services such as fresh water, food, carbon storage, storm buffers and other natural resources that sustain human life and support social and economic development.

Scientists from Conservation International (CI), the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, and the Global Environment Facility found that the value of ecosystem services in the 7 percent of the planet of greatest biodiversity conservation priority was more than double the global average. Overall, the annual value of the worlds ecosystem services is estimated at $33 trillion, or greater than the gross national product of all nations combined.

This paper clearly shows that in many places in the world, strategies targeted at conserving threatened biodiversity also help protect ecosystems, thereby improving human well-being and alleviating poverty, said Thomas M. Brooks, CI senior director for conservation synthesis and one of the papers authors.

The report, published in the November 2007 issue of BioScience magazine, proposes conservation strategies that protect both biological diversity and ecosystem services to increase the efficiency of dollars and efforts spent. It identifies tropical forests as places of particularly high overlap of priorities because of their biological diversity and ecosystem services essential to the welfare of many of the worlds 1 billion people
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Contact: Susan Bruce
sbruce@conservation.org
703-341-2471
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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