Between 1970 and 2014, there has been a 60% fall in the numbers of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Plummeting wildlife populations have become a stark reminder that the planet and its resources are under tremendous pressure.
The importance of conservation work runs far deeper, says the WWF in a new report . By pointing out the economic contribution of the natural world, by highlighting its monetary value, it hopes to broaden the appeal of conservation.
The WWF’s Living Planet Index 2018 observes that nature underpins all economic activity, presently worth an estimated US$125 trillion.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has developed a framework for valuing nature that goes beyond simply assigning a dollar figure.It calls this broader category of value Nature’s Contribution to People or NCP. This is the assessment of value used by the Living Planet Index.
For example, the Great Barrier Reef makes a contribution of US$ 5.7 billion a year to the Australian economy and supports 69,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, the economic value of natural land-based assets in the Americas stands at more than US$24 trillion per year, according to the report. That’s roughly equivalent to the region’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).