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Lionel Dupond

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Will putting a value on nature help preserve the biodiversity?

In the last few years a considerable amount of research have been done to try to understand how much (in terms of money) do the nature offer to us through various products of ecosystems that we use in a daily basis like timbers, water, air, pollination...
The idea behind putting a value to the nature services is that it will help people at all level (politic, buisness, society) to understand concretly how much we depend on the good-functionning of ecosystems. Research in ecosystem function have shown that biodiversity was a key factor in the ecosystem functionning so in order to maintain what we are getting from the nature we need to protect biodiversity at all level (ecosystems, species and genes).
The good side of these effort is that it talks in a way every one can understand even the most stubborn politician, it talks with money. And so the great hope is that all these research will lead to ambitious policies from government but as well from buisnesses to protect the biodiversity.
The bad side is that this approach is purely human-based we give a price to something that is worthwhile solely to our species. This can lead to a wrong direction when we think about biodiversity, every actor will only think in terms of money and incomes and so if a species is critically endagered and if actual research do not give this species a value then nothing will be done to protect it.

So the question: should we put a value on nature? will it help protect biodiversity or will it lead to a wrong approach to ecosystems servies?
Waiting for your opinions.

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  • Dec 24 2011: Many points to be made here. We need to stop acting like there is an ecosystem out there and realize we are as a species a very large part of it. Bees live in hives made from regurgitated substrates found only in the form it is because of bees and yet nobody prosecutes them for ruining the environment. Everything humans have done IN the ecosystem not TO it are not irreversible or even perversions of nature. We are nature and all the materials we use to create our societies have come from nature. We are apex predators that through ensuring our own well being have put many other competitor species at risk or killed off outright. %99.99 of species that ever lived are now extinct according to our fossil record and humans aren't responsible for it all. Many animals have made other species extinct in the course of natural selection and nobody calls those animals immoral or unethical. Change drives evolution and we need to be comfortable with that. We are simply afraid that the ecosystem will become unlivable to US if we change it to much which is the checks and balances system that nature is sure to implement. When resources get low, people will die out. Then resources replenish, and population increases. The problem fixes itself.

    Attaching a hyper-inflating fiat currency with no intrinsic value to a complex system with self regulating emergent qualities is a good way to make guilt ridden tax payers further enslaved to a fascist government all in the name of buying back the environment to save non-adaptive species.

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