Biodiversity, poverty, and development

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2012

Biodiversity is crucial for the production of a range of marketed and non-marketed ecosystem goods and services. This paper reviews the empirical evidence for the role of terrestrial biodiversity and biodiversity conservation in economic development and poverty, at both the macro (e.g. country) and micro (e.g. farm) scales.

It first examines general relationships between biodiversity and economic development before showing how biodiversity influences ecosystem services. Second, future scenarios and challenges for biodiversity and development are examined, given projections for further changes in global population, economic growth, and consumption. Third, the relationship between biodiversity protection and incomes is investigated. Two specific policies, protected areas and bioprospecting, are reviewed with respect to their impacts on the welfare of the resource-dependent poor. In conclusion, improvements in policy design and implementation could help minimize the possibility of earth’s sixth mass extinction event, at least within a few generations, while ensuring that the poor are not made worse off as a result of policy implementation.

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Publication | 23 November 2012