A study co-authored by a Charles Darwin University academic reveals that substantially increasing investment in conservation is urgently required to save threatened species and protect key sites for conservation.
Published today in the journal Science, this new study estimates that $3.9 billion needs to be invested annually worldwide to reduce the extinction risk for all known threatened species across the world. A further $74.8 billion is needed each year to protect and effectively manage terrestrial sites of global conservation significance.
CDU’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Professor Stephen Garnett contributed Australian data to the paper entitled “Financial Costs of Meeting Two Global Biodiversity Conservation Targets: Current Spending and Unmet Needs”.
Professor Garnett said data on the price of conserving birds was used to estimate the costs of meeting conservation targets for all nature.
“This study is ground breaking because the cost of retaining the world’s animal and plant species has never been estimated before,” Professor Garnett said.
The paper outlines the costs associated with achieving the two most urgent Aichi Targets identified in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s strategic plan: halting extinctions and safeguarding important sites for nature by 2020.
Lead author, Environmental Economist at BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Donal McCarthy said the total costs were very small compared with the likely costs of inaction.
“The total is just 1 to 4 per cent of the value of ecosystem services being lost annually, which equates to $2.1 trillion to $6.5 trillion in losses per year,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The longer investments in conservation are delayed, the more the costs will grow and the greater will be the difficulty of successfully meeting the targets.”
The analysis was funded by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative Fund for Conservation and Arcadia.