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Nature is worth billions to our communities

June 2, 2011 2:02 PM

The National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) published today by the Government has recognised the huge economic value that nature has for our society.

The NEA argues nature is worth billions to the UK economy through natural ecosystem services. It concludes that the health benefits alone are worth up to £300 per person every year. The report supports the findings of the TEEB report (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), which attempts to put a monetary value on nature.

Local Euro-MP Catherine Bearder, who has been campaigning at the European Parliament for greater protection of our natural ecosystems, commented:

"I'm delighted the UK government has officially recognised the value that nature and biodiversity has for our communities."

"If we don't protect nature then all of society will be losing out. It is cheaper to protect our biodiversity today than it will be to replace it tomorrow, if it would even be possible."

"The UK must work with our EU partners to ensure a system of protection that acknowledges the true economic and social value of biodiversity and ecosystems."

"I hope the UK will now take biodiversity seriously."

There are many services provided to society by natural ecosystems. These include:

Provisioning - providing timber, wheat, fish, etc.

Regulating - disposing of pollutants, regulating rainfall, storing carbon.

Cultural - sacred sites, tourism, enjoyment of the countryside.

Supporting - maintaining soils and plant growth.

To read the National Ecosystem Assessment please click here.

To learn more about the TEEB report please click here.