IT is time that governments and corporations took account of the free services provided by nature, which are worth many thousands of billions of dollars a year, urged a panel of us scientists and economists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at Seattle recently.
"In order to protect the environment in the next century, we have to give an economic value to nature's 'ecosystem services' ranging from water purification and waste recycling to soil fertility and insect pollination," said Jane Lubchenco, president of the AAAS.
"Preliminary evaluation puts the cost of natural resources and services at or above the total gross national product (GNP) of the planet, to the tune of us $30,000 billion," revealed Geoffrey Heal of Columbia Business School, New York. According to Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University, California, the value of natural biological pest control systems alone amount to four per cent of world GNP. He added that the us forest service should take into account the value of standing forests, which serve as natural flood controls, while calculating fees for felling trees.
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