Protection of threatened species to cost $5bn

Last Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 09:51

London: Researchers have estimated that reducing the risk of extinction for threatened species and establishing protected areas for nature will cost the world over 76 billion dollars a year.

It is needed to meet globally agreed conservation targets by 2020,they reported in the journal Science.

But they noted that the daunting number is just a fifth of what the world spends on soft drinks annually.

Back in 2002, governments around the world agreed that they would achieve a significant reduction in biodiversity loss by 2010. But the deadline came and went and the rate of loss increased.

At a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya that year governments re-committed to a series of targets to be achieved by 2020.

But there is a marked lack of data on how much it would cost to protect species and landed areas. And some experts believe that uncertainty about financial information helps governments who are reluctant to commit to funding the targets.

Now researchers from a number of conservation organisations and universities have set out in detail the likely costs of preserving all threatened species.

They’ve also worked out the cost of establishing and expanding protected areas to cover seventeen percent of land and inland water areas.

“Reducing the extinction threat for all species would cost 5bn dollars a year, but establishing and maintaining a comprehensive global network of protected areas would cost substantially more,” said Environmental economist Donal McCarthy from the RSP, who led the study, told BBC News.

“It could be up to 76bn dollars annually to meet both targets,” he stated.

The researchers used the threat to birds as a model for working out the costs of extinction to all species. They asked experts around the world to estimate the costs of conservation actions required to move them down the IUCN list of those at greatest threat.

“A key finding of our analysis was that the most highly threatened species tend to relatively cheap to save on account of their small range sizes, such as the Razo lark, which lives on the island of Razo in the Cape Verde islands,” said McCarthy.

“Experts say conserving the species would cost less than one hundred thousand a year over the next ten years,” he noted.

The costs for protecting land areas were worked out by including estimates of what would be needed to protect sites from threats including deforestation, poaching and over harvesting as well as improving existing conservation zones.



First Published: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 09:47

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