The cost of protecting species is less than half bankers’ bonuses – but can we afford not to save biodiversity?

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).

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About Prof Andy Lowe

Prof Andy Lowe is a British-Australian scientist and expert on plants and trees, particularly the monitoring, management and utilisation of genetic, biological and ecosystem resources. He has discovered new species, lost forests, championed to eliminate illegally logged timber in global supply chains, served the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime and has been responsible for securing multi-million dollar research funding. He is an experienced and respected executive leader, as well as mid-career mentor. Andy is the inaugural Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide serving as the external face for all significant food industry and government sectors across South Australia, and the world.
This entry was posted in Threats and extinction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The cost of protecting species is less than half bankers’ bonuses – but can we afford not to save biodiversity?

  1. ajunglescientist says:

    Reblogged this on A jungle scientist and commented:
    The money needed to undertake crucial and valuable work to protect habitats and species is small fry when compared with other areas of global 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).”

  2. Pingback: Good news for a change | Biodiversity Revolution

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