The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity

“It’s not about the fish, it’s not about the pollution, and it’s not about the climate change. It’s about us and our greed and our need for growth and our inability to imagine world that is different from the selfish world we live in today.” –Jeremy Jackson (Jackson, 2010)

Ecological infrastructure is the naturally existing operational ecosystem which delivers treasured amenities to society, such as fresh water, climate regulation, soil formation, glaciers and disaster risk declination. It is the nature-based corresponding of built infrastructure and is imperative for providing services and sustaining socio-economic development. (Grasslands, 2013)

Since ecological infrastructure is essentially unrestricted, it’s worth is infrequently apprehended in market transactions and thus it mostly remains under-invested. It is the exhaust of nearly 7 billion humans that is leading us towards catastrophic conditions which might result into global disasters. We as a race are doing more than hogging the interest, we are actually using up Nature’s resource taking about what is needed to support species most diverse and what is needed to allow evolution to play at its fascinating potential with the health of building blocks it has created.

Owing to the massive population there has been a demand of massive free land, which further led to massive deforestation. Deforestation exposes the soil directly to sun’s heat which leads to drying up of moisture, evaporation of nutrients and symbiotic bacteria.  In due course, rain washes down the soil surfaces which results in top-soil erosion, and siltation of rivers and valleys. This enormous impact on Land conditions lead to systems reorganization which changes the climatic patterns and change is landscapes. As a fact, humans have moved more land than all natural processes put together. (Santa-Barbara Family Foundation, 2011)

Consistent land abuse has resulted in a reduction in loss of productivity of land continuously, which is leading towards an inability to grow enough food which is leading to hunger and famines.

“Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved.” Dr. Jane Goodall

Forests arrests and stores Carbon. In the absence of appropriate cover of forests, we had to create a new mechanism to reinstate the functions which they were performing themselves with full efficiency, which has resulted in massive investments. Also, it could be noted that bees contribute significantly towards pollination and production of important compounds. Their population has been wedged ominously over the last few years. It’s just they as a species haven’t raised a bill for their services which would amount to billions of dollars. This suffering in their community will amount to much more than that; it will impact in a modus which will be a threat to our habitation. (Hickman, 2011) “We currently consume 50% more natural resources than the Earth’s ecosystems can replenish.” World Wildlife Fund 

It is the due time when we need to economise all natural systems. As a race, economics is the only branch which we all seem to understand alike. We face the imminent loss of coral reefs due to climate change, which has thwarted growth of ocean ecosystem. (Jackson, 2010)  This is an ecosystem that is near to the onset of irreversibility, an inclining point beyond which it’d cease to function as a system. The total population dependent on them for food resources ranges from 500 million to over one billion. 30 million of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable population is entirely dependent on reef-based resources for food production and means of livelihood. (Pavan Sukhdev, 2009)

These contribute to variation in system adapted by watersheds, this change is further augmented by deforestation in the area and constriction of floodplains which is directly impacting the natural storm water drainage system and leads to flood uncalled for. This also results in poor water management and amplifies water wastage. These important resources go waste, unharvested, unutilised and results in water-stress.  “By 2025, two-thirds of people will be living in water-stressed countries.” United Nations

It is straightforwardly recognized that natural capital must be directly taken into accounts. This will help us in accounting natural process, grasping the ecological framework and this will significantly influence our policy-makers’ decision making. At present ecosystems are poorly recorded in national economic accounts. All the free amenities and services supplied by thriving eco-systems are neglected, which leads to their destruction. These accounting procedures will help in making corporates apprehend their impact on the environment around and take accountability for that. Often these firms while setting up disrupt a large ecological infrastructure which goes blatantly unnoticed. This natural capital is an important resource for the communities around, not only a resource but the singular reason for their existence.

Direct conservation via threatened areas and sustainable use constraints and restraints is a mean of maintaining our ecological institution healthy and prolific.  A very systemic cost-analysis need to be accounted for and new eco-certification measures need to be regularised which provide detailed analysis of the benefits and causes. This should be explicitly linked with the natural hazard risks, these systematic assessments of natural capital will pave the way for combining environment risk reduction with economically efficient investment. (Pavan Sukhdev, 2009)

“If we were running a business with the biosphere as our major asset, we would not allow it to depreciate. We would ensure that all necessary repairs and maintenance were carried out on a regular basis.” Prof. Alan Malcolm, Chief Scientific Advisor, IUPAC

Bibliography

Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN. (2010, May 1). Population Facts. Retrieved December 11, 2013, from United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/popfacts/popfacts_2010-5.pdf

Ecotrust. (n.d.). Ecological Infrastructure. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from Reliable Prosperity: http://www.reliableprosperity.net/ecological_infrastructure.html

Eschool today. (2010). Forest preservation. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from Eschool Today: http://eschooltoday.com/forests/problems-of-deforestation.html

Grasslands. (2013). Ecological Infrastructure. Johannesburg: Sanbi.

Hickman, L. (2011, January 14). Population explosion. Retrieved December 11, 2013, from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/14/population-explosion-seven-billion

Jackson, J. (Director). (2010). How we wrecked our oceans? [Motion Picture].

Pavan Sukhdev, J. B. (2009). TEEB Climate Issues Update. Bonn: United Nations Environment Programme.

Santa-Barbara Family Foundation. (2011, October 23). Population and scale. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from The Sustainable Scale Project: http://www.sustainablescale.org/areasofconcern/population/populationandscale/quickfacts.aspx

Sukhdev, P. (Director). (2011). Put a value on Nature! [Motion Picture].

The Rewilding Institute. (n.d.). Population Growth. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from Rewilding: http://rewilding.org/rewildit/our-programs/population-growth/

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