The price tag on a forest in today’s global market is a reflection of the lumber or paper it can produce.
According to Daniel Bunker, though, a forest’s value should also include the ecological services it provides: clean water, climate regulation, biomedical prospects and wildlife protection, among others.
“Because these latter services are typically not bought and sold,” said Bunker, an assistant professor in the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Federated Department of Biology, “their value is often ignored by landowners and policymakers.”
Bunker is one of 16 leading biodiversity scientists working to change this.
The team’s most recent paper, “Ecosystem Services for 2020,” was published in Science magazine Friday, and encourages recognition of these ecological service values under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
“By placing value on these and all services that biodiversity produces,” says Bunker, “we will be better positioned to conserve the biodiversity that we so clearly rely upon for human well- being."
The scientists hope their recommendations will encourage signatory nations at the 10th Conference of the Parties—the meeting of CBD’s governing body in Nagoya, Japan this week—to make ambitious and achievable goals for their 2020 CBD targets.