Biodiversity genetic diversity is broadly on the wane.

Biodiversity
needs our attention because humans receive a wide range of direct and indirect
benefits and human activities have frequently been essential contributors to
render unprecedented rates of biodiversity loss, which threaten the durability,
stability and continuity of ecosystems on earth, as well as their provision of
goods and services to humans. Current
biodiversity losses are limiting future
development options. Ecosystems are being constantly transformed,
irreversibly degraded and a number of species have gone extinct or threatened
with extinction, reductions in populations are widespread and genetic diversity
is broadly on the wane.  Biodiversity
loss and changes in ecosystem services have altered disease patterns and human
exposure to disease outbreaks and affected both material and non-material human
welfare. Massive biodiversity loss is also conspicuous owing to declining
amphibian populations, reptiles threatened by climate change, deforestation,
habitat loss, trade, and declining ocean biodiversity. Moreover fish stocks are
dwindling and loss of forests has directly affected the habitat structure of
animals. Even extinction risks outpace any conservation successes.

Pearce
(2001) has emphasized that the measurement of the economic value of
biodiversity is a primary step in conserving resources because pressures to
reduce biodiversity are so large that the chances that we will introduce
incentives (for the protection of biodiversity) without demonstrating the
economic value of  biodiversity are much
less than if we do engage in valuation. OECD (2001) also acknowledged not only
the importance of measuring economic value of biodiversity but also identified
a various uses for such values, including demonstrating the value of
biodiversity, in targeting biodiversity protection within scarce budgets, and
in determining damages for loss of biodiversity in liability regimes.

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Interestingly
the role of environmental valuation methodologies in policy formulation is
being acknowledged by policy makers. For instance, the Convention of Biological
Diversity’s Conference of the Parties decision IV/10 recognized that economic
valuation of biodiversity and biological resources is an essential tool for
well-targeted and calibrated economic incentive measures. In the same way it
encourages governments and various organizations to take into consideration
economic, social, cultural and ethical valuation in the development of relevant
incentive measure. Central to upgrading level of
understanding of the cost that biodiversity loss imposes on society or the
gains from its preservation is measurement and valuation of biodiversity of
different ecosystems. Therefore policy makers and people alike necessarily need
to have knowledge of the opportunity cost in terms of lost values.

What follows from the above discussion
is that biodiversity valuation must be worked out both in terms of market
linkages and the existence of value outside the market that is considered
relevant by a set of pre-identified stakeholders. 

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