Biodiversity loss stories do make headlines, but when and how will governments and businesses realise nature's true value and factor it into their accounts?
This is the question asked by Georgina Langdale in a feature in the latest Kew magazine. Georgina has been involved in an international study into the true value of nature, namely The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – known as TEEB.
She makes the point that nature is often invisible to us in terms of its importance and economic value, hence its ongoing degradation around the world. The values of its benefits are often overlooked or poorly understood. But if this perception was changed, governments, businesses and individuals would save money, maintain healthy habitats and save endangered species at the same time.
This approach of valuing 'natural capital' and working with nature is already being taken up by some – you can see examples on the TEEB website and it is hoped this way of thinking will accelerate in the future as its benefits become clear.
Georgina argues that 'business as usual' is ultimately self-defeating.
Kew is involved in many international projects to ensure natural capital is not lost, including the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, which has an international network working to save plants and habitats under threat on a daily basis.
MSBP staff on a seed collecting expedition in Malawi
TEEB has produced a series of reports – for policy makers, business and for citizens. The final report was presented at COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan in October.
Read Georgina's article in Kew magazine, and go to teebweb where all the reports are available for download.
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Christina accepts a Kew Publishing award at the Garden Media Guild awards in 2012.
Christina joined Kew in 1999 after finishing a BSc. degree in Plant Ecology and an Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture. After initially working as a horticulturist in Kew’s Arboretum and the Hardy Display section (on the Grass Garden) she went on to become Festivals Interpretation Officer between 2002-2008, helping Kew’s onsite visitors understand what makes Kew tick. In the meantime she completed an MA in Garden History, a subject that continues to be one of her passions.
Christina was short-listed for a Garden Writers Guild award in 2007 for one of her articles in Kew magazine, and is the author of Kew’s Big Trees, published in 2008. She became editor of Kew magazine in September 2008. “I see Kew magazine as a window on the world of Kew,” she says. “I hope between its pages the many facets of Kew’s work and the people who make it happen are revealed for all to see and encourage readers to continue to support Kew.”
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