Bolstering the value of natural ecosystems

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Building a conservation vision for the Amazon requires the committed participation of indigenous and local communities and the recognition of their ethnic and cultural diversity.
© Nigel DICKINSON / WWF

The real value of natural ecosystems

Undervaluation of natural ecosystems, and the multitude of environmental goods and services they provide both locally and globally, is one of the critical drivers of habitat destruction and degradation in the Amazon. This undervaluation is partly linked to insufficient information about the current and potential economic benefits derived from the resources and services provided by the Amazon’s natural ecosystems, especially when compared to the large, tangible returns provided by other land uses.

However, this undervaluation is also linked to the predominant and flawed perception that natural ecosystems are “useless lands” waiting to be converted to more “productive” and “socially beneficial” uses. This current development paradigm has resulted in little political will to enforce legislation that, while imperfect, exists to improve the management and viability of these goods and services.

While ecosystem goods and services have inherent value and provide benefits that may be nearly impossible to quantify, supporting the development of economically competitive alternatives to the current major land uses of the Amazon is being proposed as a critical component of an effective response to halting the advance of the deforestation frontier.

How to achieve this

  • Generating the applied research and pilot experiences to promote forest carbon markets/financial incentives as credible mechanisms to generate income, maintain forest cover, and reduce carbon-forest emissions
  • Providing the technical foundation for the economic valuation of environmental services other than carbon in the Amazon
  • Advocating for comprehensive forest and forest related policies
  • Promoting demand for sustainable forest products
 / ©: WWF Perú
Living Amazon Initiative Bolstering the value of Natural Ecosystems
© WWF Perú

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