The value of ecosystem services from giant panda reserves

Wei, Fuwen, Costanza, Robert, Dai, Qiang, Stoeckl, Natalie, Gu, Xiaodong, Farber, Stephen, Nie, Yonggang, Kubiszewski, Ida, Hu, Yibo, Swaisgood, Ronald, Yang, Xuyu, Bruford, Michael, Chen, Youping, Voinov, Alexey, Qi, Dunwu, Owen, Megan, Yan, Li, Kenny, Daniel C., Zhang, Zejun, Hou, Rong, Jiang, Shiwei, Liu, Hong-Bo, Zhan, Xiangjiang, Zhang, Li, Yang, Biao, Zhao, Lianjun, Zheng, Xiaoguang, Zhou, Wenliang, Wen, Yali, Gao, Heran, and Zhang, Wen (2018) The value of ecosystem services from giant panda reserves. Current Biology, 28 (13). pp. 2174-2180.

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Abstract

Ecosystem services (the benefits to humans from ecosystems) are estimated globally at $125 trillion/year. Similar assessments at national and regional scales show how these services support our lives. All valuations recognize the role of biodiversity, which continues to decrease around the world in maintaining these services. The giant panda epitomizes the flagship species. Its unrivalled public appeal translates into support for conservation funding and policy, including a tax on foreign visitors to support its conservation. The Chinese government has established a panda reserve system, which today numbers 67 reserves. The biodiversity of these reserves is among the highest in the temperate world, covering many of China’s endemic species. The panda is thus also an umbrella species —protecting panda habitat also protects other species. Despite the benefits derived from pandas, some journalists have suggested that it would be best to let the panda go extinct. With the recent down listing of the panda from Endangered to Vulnerable, it is clear that society’s investment has started to pay off in terms of panda population recovery. Here, we estimate the value of ecosystem services of the panda and its reserves at between US$2.6 and US$6.9 billion/year in 2010. Protecting the panda as an umbrella species and the habitat that supports it yields roughly 10–27 times the cost of maintaining the current reserves, potentially further motivating expansion of the reserves and other investments in natural capital in China.

Item ID: 54400
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0445
Funders: Ministry of Science and Technology, China (MSTC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) Creative Research Group, Sichuan Forest Department and State Forestry Administration
Projects and Grants: MSTC 2016YFC0503200, CAS XDB31000000, CAS QYZDY-SSW-SMC019
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2018 05:24
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 80%
91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919902 Ecological Economics @ 20%
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