This indicator measures a government’s commitment to habitat preservation and biodiversity protection.
Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction
Environmental protection of biomes and the biodiversity and ecosystems within those biomes supports long-term economic growth by providing essential ecosystem goods and services such as natural capital, fertile soil, climate regulation, clean air and water, renewable energy, and genetic diversity. 1 The appropriate management of ecosystems and the natural resources within those ecosystems promotes agricultural and non-agricultural productivity. 2 Some research suggests that economic growth will be increasingly difficult to sustain as the current population compromises or decimates the biomes that provide the natural resources that are essential to future development or sustenance. 3 Those in poverty, particularly subsistence farmers and those in rural areas, are most likely to be exposed to and affected by environmental degradation and biodiversity loss because they rely so directly on ecosystem services for their food security and livelihood. 4
Developed by CIESIN, this indicator assesses whether a country is protecting at least 17% of all of its biomes (e.g. deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, etc.). It is designed to capture the comprehensiveness of a government’s commitment to habitat preservation and biodiversity protection. The World Wildlife Fund provides the underlying eco-region data, and the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center — in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas and the World Database on Protected Areas Consortium — provides the underlying data on protected areas.
- 1. Balmford, A., Bruner A, Cooper P, Costanza R, Farber S, Green RE, Jenkins M, Jefferiss P, Jessamy V, Madden J, Munro K, Myers N, Naeem S, Paavola J, Rayment M, Rosendo S, Roughgarden J, Trumper K, Turner RK. 2002. Economic reasons for conserving wild nature. Science 297: 950–953. Costanza, Robert, Ralph d’Arge, Rudolf de Groot, Stephen Farber, Monica Grasso, Bruce Hannon, Karin Limburg, Shaid Naeem, Robert V O’Neill, Jose Paruelo, Robert G Raskin, Paul Sutton, and Marjan van den Belt. 1997. The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature, 387(15): 253-260. Costanza, Robert, Ralph d’Arge, Rudolf de Groot, Stephen Farber, Monica Grasso, Bruce Hannon, Karin Limburg, Shaid Naeem, Robert V O’Neill, Jose Paruelo, Robert G Raskin, Paul Sutton, and Marjan van den Belt. 1998. The value of ecosystem services: putting the issues in perspective. Ecological Economics, 25(1): 67-72. Costanza, Robert, Brendan Fisher, Kenneth Mulder, Shuang Liu, and Treg Christopher. 2007. Biodiversity and ecosystem services: A multi-scale empirical study of the relationship between species richness and net primary production. Ecological Economics, 61(2-3): 478-491. Kremen C, Niles JO, Dalton MG, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Fay JP, Grewal D, and Guillery RP. 2000. Economic incentives for rain forest conservation across scales. Science 288: 1828–1832. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: General Synthesis. New York: Island Press. Turner, R. Kerry, Jouni Paavola, Philip Cooper, Stephen Farber, Valma Jessamy, and Stavros Georgiou. 2003. Valuing nature: Lessons learned and future research directions. Ecological Economics, 46(3): 493-510.
- 2. Dobie, Philip. 2001. Poverty and the Drylands. Nairobi: United Nations Development Programme, Drylands Development Centre. Hussain, I. and M.A. Hanrja. 2003. Does Irrigation water matter for rural poverty alleviation?: Evidence from South and South-East Asia. Water Policy 5:429–442. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: General Synthesis. New York: Island Press. Rijsberman, F. 2003. Can development of water resources reduce poverty? Water Policy 5: 399–412. Swinton, Scott M., Frank Lupi, G. Philip Robertson, and Stephen K. Hamilton. 2007. Ecosystem services and agriculture: Cultivating agricultural ecosystems for diverse benefits. Ecological Economics, 64(2): 245-252. Tscharntke, Teja, Alexandra M. Klein, Andreas Kruess, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter and Carsten Thies. 2005. Landscape perspectives on agricultural intensification and biodiversity - ecosystem service management. Ecology Letters, 8(8): 857-874. Zhang, Wei, Taylor H. Ricketts, Claire Kremen, Karen Carney, and Scott M. Swinton. 2007. Ecosystem services and dis-services to agriculture. Ecological Economics, 64(2): 253-260.
- 3. Moreno, Luis Alberto. “Banking on Global Sustainability.” Americas 63, no. 2 (March 2011): 36-39. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed July 7, 2011). Hoekstra, Jonathan, Timothy Boucher, Taylor Ricketts, and Carter Robers. 2005. Confronting a Biome Crisis: Global Disparities of Habitat Loss and Protection. Ecology Letters. 8: 23-29. Panayotou, Theodore. 2003. Chapter 2: Economic growth and the environment. Economic Survey of Europe, 2: 45-67. Barretta, Gary W. and Eugene P. Odum. The Twenty-First Century: The World at Carrying Capacity. BioScience, 50(4): 363-368. Ayres, Robert U. Sustainability economics: Where do we stand? Ecological Economics, 67(2): 281-310. Arrow, Kenneth, Bert Bolin, Robert Costanza, Partha Dasgupta, Carl Folke, C.S. Holling, Bengt-Owe Jansson, Simon Levin, Karl-Goran Maler, Charles Perrings, and David Pimentel. 1996. Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment. Ecological Application, 6(1): 13-15. Díaz Sandra, Joseph Fargione, F. Stuart Chapin III, David Tilman. 2006. Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PLoS Biology 4(8):e277.
- 4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: General Synthesis. New York: Island Press. UN Millennium Project. 2005. Environmental and Human Well-Being: A Practical Strategy. London: Earthscan. Díaz Sandra, Joseph Fargione, F. Stuart Chapin III, David Tilman. 2006.Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PLoS Biology 4(8):e277. DFID (U.K. Department for International Development) Livestock and Wildlife Advisory Group. 2002. Wildlife and Poverty Study. London: Department for International Development. U.K. Department for International Development, European Commission, United Nations Development Programme), and World Bank. 2002. Linking Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management: Policy Challenges and Opportunities. Working Paper 24824. Washington, D.C: World Bank. World Resources Institute. 2005. World resources 2005: The wealth of the poor: Managing ecosystems to fight poverty. Washington, D.C.: WRI. Wunder, Sven. 2001. Poverty alleviation and tropical forests – What scope for synergies? World Development, 29(11): 1817-1833.