What’s the Economic Value of Lakshadweep’s Coral Reefs?
20 July, 2012 Kochi
Valuation of Coral Reefs, Lakshadweep Islands
There is no specific data about the actual ‘worth’ of Lakshadweep Corals. However, the following information based on a scientific study, gives various benefits derived by scientists around the world from the wonderful nature of coral reefs.
The economic research shows a single hectare of coral reef, for example, provides annual services to humans valued at US $130,000 on average, rising to as much as $1.2 million. Coral reefs are highly productive, diverse and attractive ecosystems which provide a wide range of benefits or ‘ecosystem goods and services’ which are of high value and critical importance to local and national economics. Coral reefs provide habitat for commercially valuable fish, for coastal recreation, and reduce the impact of waves on the shore, slowing erosion and beach loss, and lessening damages from storms.
In addition, coral reefs harbor vast range of genetic diversity with unknown potential uses. Valuation of goods and services generated by coral reef system had widely been attempted by researchers in different parts of the world. Thus, while Costanza et al. (1997) estimated a total global value of coral reef system as US$ 6075 per ha per year (total extent of coral reef systems was 62 million ha), Cesar et al. (2003) estimated total net benefit per year of the world’s coral reefs is $29.8 billion. Of this amount, tourism and recreation account for $9.6 million, coastal protection for $9.0 billion, fisheries for $5.7 billion and biodiversity for $5.5 billion.
What Are Coral Reef Services Worth?
$130,000 To $1.2 Million Per Hectare, Per Year. Experts concluding the global DIVERSITAS biodiversity conference in Cape Town described preliminary research revealing jaw-dropping dollar values of the “ecosystem services” of biomes like forests and coral reefs — including food, pollution treatment and climate regulation.
Undertaken to help societies make better-informed choices, the economic research shows a single hectare of coral reef, for example, provides annual services to humans valued at US $130,000 on average, rising to as much as $1.2 million.
The work provides insights into the worth of ecosystems in human economic terms, says economist Pavan Sukhdev of UNEP, head of a Cambridge, England-based project called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
Based on analysis of more than 80 coral reef valuation studies, the worth of services per hectare of coral reef breaks down as follows:
Food, raw materials, ornamental resources: average $1,100 (up to $6,000); Climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, waste treatment / water purification, biological control: average $26,000 (up to $35,000); Cultural services (eg. recreation / tourism): average $88,700 (up to $1.1 million) Maintenance of genetic diversity: average $13,500 (up to $57,000) Taken together, coral reef services worldwide have an average annual value estimated at $172 billion, says Mr. Sukhdev.
He notes the growing scientific agreement that coral reefs are unlikely to survive if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels exceed 350 parts per million. Negotiators of a new climate change deal in Copenhagen in December, however, “would be proud” to achieve an agreement that limits atmospheric carbon to 450 parts per million, he says, calling that “a death sentence on the world’s coral reefs.”
Climate change to cost $2 trillion…
We must develop an integrated view of how our actions impact the ocean, and threaten the vital services it provides, from food to tourism to storm protection,” Kevin Noone, director of the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said in the statement. Noone, a co-editor of the report, added that the global ocean was “a major contributor to national economies … yet is chronically neglected…Climate change to cost $2 trillion annually in damage to oceans.