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Biodiversity Crucial to Ending Poverty
Emily Gertz, 23 May 05

The latest report released from the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment makes it plain: human wellbeing is inextricably linked to global biodiversity and environmental health. The MEA's Ecosystems and Human Well-being: the Biodiversity Synthesis Report, looks beyond the obvious benefits people derive from the world around them, like food, or materials for clothing and shelter--to define and quantify the benefits from the "invisible services" that people get from ecosystems, like air and water recycling, climate control, and seed dispersal and pollination, and more.

"Biodiversity and human well-being just cannot be separated," said Dr Kaveh Zahedi, the officer in charge of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK.

"We are befitting from a whole range of services that up until now have almost been invisible; we haven't considered them. And then they suddenly pop up on our radar screens - we have a tragedy in Asia with a tsunami and we realise that those mangroves that were cut down had a value; they provided a service in terms of coastal protection."

People living in rural areas of developing nations--by and large, at the lowest economic rungs of globalization's ladder--cannot simply buy what they need from elsewhere when a local natural resource is depleted or destroyed, and cannot afford to move. They are the people who will continue to suffer the most if we don't arrest and reverse the worldwide rate of natural systems deterioration and mass species extinctions.

(via the BBC)

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