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Conclusions: Diversity and Ecosystem Function

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1 Conclusions: Diversity and Ecosystem Function
Plant production may decline as regional and local diversity declines Ecosystem resistance to environmental perturbations, such as drought, may be lessened as biodiversity is reduced Ecosystem processes such as soil nitrogen levels, water use, plant productivity, and pest and disease cycles may become more variable as diversity declines. From: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Maintaining Natural Life Support Processes. Naeem, S. et al. Issues in Ecology Report 4, Ecological Society of America

2 Lyme Disease

3 Ecosystem Services: The Dilution Effect

4 Ecosystem Services regulation of disease carrying organisms
purification of air and water mitigation of droughts and floods generation and preservation of soils and renewal of their fertility detoxification and decomposition of wastes pollination of crops and natural vegetation / dispersal of seeds cycling and movement of nutrients control of the vast majority of potential agricultural pests maintenance of biodiversity protection of coastal shores from erosion by waves partial stabilization of climate / moderation of weather extremes

5 Why Conserve Biodiversity?
Utilitarian Perspective Ecosystem services or function, Potential importance to humans. Ethical Perspective Biodiversity is inherently valuable

6 The “Value” of Biodiversity
“Biodiversity is not adequately protected because its value is not included in the market signals that guide economic decisions . . .” – Meffe and Carroll

7 Market Failure Supply curve Supply curve Quantity Q + externalities Q’
Demand curve P P’ Price

8 Economic Value “[The] value of an ecosystem function or service relates only to the contribution it makes to human welfare, where human welfare is measured in terms of each individual's own assessment of his or her well-being.” Bockstael et al., Environ. Sci. Technol., 34 (8), , 2000.

9 Calculating the Value of Nature
Total economic value = Use Value + Option Value + Existence Value Use value Direct = benefits derived from harvested resources Indirect = non-harvested ecosystem services Option value = potential benefit from future use Existence value = intrinsic value / right to exist

10 Economic Benefits of Intact Natural Systems
Traditional Uses Forestry Ranching Fisheries Crops (resistance)* Medicine* Waste Treatment Public Health Ecotourism and Recreation Climatic Stability Direct Use values *Option values Indirect Use values

11 Medicine 118 / 150 prescription drugs used in the United States are based on natural sources (9 / top ten) 74% plants, 18% fungi, 5% bacteria, 3% 1 snake The commercial value of pharmaceuticals in the developed nations exceeds $40 billion per year ~ 85% of traditional medicine involves the use of plant extracts (affects 80% of humans) From: Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems. G.C. Daily et al. Issues in Ecology Report 4, Ecological Society of America

12 The Value of Fisheries Fish is the leading source of animal protein
The value of the U.S. freshwater sport fishery is about 46 billion US $ The annual world fish catch is valued between billion US $ Nine of the world’s major marine fishing areas are in decline due to overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. From: Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems. G.C. Daily et al. Issues in Ecology Report 4, Ecological Society of America

13 Tragedy of the Commons $ (Revenue or Cost) Cost Max Profit Revenue

14 “Bush Meat” “The east and southern Africa region is facing a serious decline of most its wildlife populations ... the use and trade of so-called ‘bush meat’ is believed to be one of the greatest direct causes of this decline.” - TRAFFIC Robinson, J. G., K. H. Redford, and E. L. Bennett Wildlife Harvest in Logged Tropical Forests. Science 284:

15 The Value of Elephants in Kenya
Tourists spend $200M/yr in Kenya Tourists rate seeing elephants as worth 13% of their trip Elephants in Kenya are worth $25M/yr Poaching has reduced elephants by 50% Poaching could cost $25M/yr

16 The Value of Ecosystem Services
Value ( Billions) Gas Regulation 1,341 Climate Regulation 684 Disturbance Regulation 1,779 Water Regulation 1,115 Water Supply 1,692 Erosion Control 576 Soil Formation 53 Nutrient Cycling 17,075 Waste Treatment 2,277 Pollination 117 Biological Control 417 Refugia 124 Food 1,386 Raw Materials 721 Genetic Resources 79 Recreation 815 Cultural 3,015 TOTAL 33,268

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