One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?
Ecosystem services, “the benefits that people derive from nature” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), are rarely taken into account in the valuation of agricultural commodities, despite the impacts (both positive and negative) agriculture can have on such services, for example the provision of food and nutrition, climate regulation, water quality and soil fertility. Ecosystem services themselves can increase agricultural productivity and resilience. For example in Costa Rican coffee plantations, birds such as the yellow warbler, can reduce infestations of the coffee borer beetle by around half.
Research on ecosystem services has increased exponentially, from Gretchen Daily’s book, Nature’s Services in 1997, to the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment in 2005 and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) in 2010. Andrew Balmford and colleagues in 2002 investigated the economic implications for conserving wild land versus converting it to agriculture by including economic values for ecosystem services, finding a benefit-cost ratio of 100:1…
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