Donal McCarthy from BirdLife International recently led a study to estimate the annual cost of saving species from extinction. Based around estimates to save birds (approximately $1 billion), the authors predict that the total cost to save all threatened species is close to $5 billion. However, if we really want to properly manage all terrestrial sites of conservation importance, this would cost $75 billion per year.
This figure doesn’t include marine sites and seems very high, until you compare it with what else we spend our money on. As pointed out in the Guardian, this figure is only a half of that handed out to bankers in bonuses last year.
Another great way to depict the relative investments we have made into different priorities is presented in the infomatic by Information-Is-Beautiful, the Billion-Dollar-Gram, which depicts various spending priorities during 2009 by size of squares. In this depiction of spending, the cost of saving the Amazon ($21 billion), is somewhere between spending in the US on Yoga ($18 billion) and gift cards ($29 billion).