How Much Is a Species Worth?

Conservationists don’t often consider economics. Here’s why they should.

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“Species” is a man-made category, one whose definition has no scientific consensus.

The Economics of Conservation

Many conservationists have taken the (easy) stance of declaring that all species have intrinsic value. This isn’t terribly helpful when it comes to prioritizing scarce resources.

From a meta-analysis of studies done to determine how much people would pay to preserve certain species. Crucially, these studies were all carried out independently — it’s very unlikely that a single person would be willing to pay over $100/year just to preserve the three species above. Data: Ecological Economics/ScienceDirect

Dead or Alive?

Top-down interventions tend to overlook the human factors at play. Any sustainable long-term solution will require buy-in from everyone.

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