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Nature in the BalanceThe Economics of Biodiversity$
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Dieter Helm and Cameron Hepburn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676880.001.0001

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Biodiversity and National Accounting

Biodiversity and National Accounting

(p.177) 9 Biodiversity and National Accounting
Nature in the Balance

Kirk Hamilton

Oxford University Press

Biodiversity, a property of natural areas, provides a range of benefits to the economy including bio-prospecting rents, knowledge and insurance, ecotourism fees, and ecosystem services. Many of these values can be broken out in the System of National Accounts (SNA), leading to better estimates of the economic losses when natural areas are degraded or destroyed. Developing countries harbour the great majority of biodiversity, and this diversity provides benefits, including knowledge and carbon sequestration, to the whole world. However, protecting biodiversity is particularly costly for developing countries: the opportunity cost of forgoing development of natural areas exceeds 1% of GDP in fifty-eight developing countries, versus only four OECD countries. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) can offset these costs through grant finance, but annual GEF finance and co-finance averages only 8% of the opportunity costs faced by low-income countries.

Keywords:   System of National Accounts (SNA), biodiversity, ecosystem services, carbon sequestration, development, Global Environment Facility (GEF)

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