Putting a price tag on nature’s services

11/8/2009

Cutting-edge science and striking photography are combined in a new book about ecosystem services, biodiversity and human well-being

Merida, Mexico – The Wealth of Nature was unveiled today by CEMEX, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and The Wild Foundation at the 9th World Wilderness Congress in Mexico (WILD9). All these organizations have worked together to complete this 17th title in the CEMEX Conservation Book Series.

IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, who wrote the foreword of the book, said: “We now recognize that the climate will change, posing new challenges and threats to nature. Conserving biodiversity will play a key role in our ability to adapt to these changes. This book is a bridge between negotiations on a climate deal at Copenhagen and the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.”

More than twenty essays by some of the most distinguished scientists working in conservation are compiled in this publication to highlight that unsustainable economic growth has put a burden on nature’s capacity to deliver clean water, fresh air, medicines and climate regulation, among other benefits. Assigning a financial value to them is the key to mend some of the environmental impact of human activities.

Armando Garcia, Executive Vice President of Technology, Energy and Sustainability at CEMEX, said: “We understand that human activities can have a negative impact on valuable ecosystems. For more than a decade we have been partnering with the leading global NGOs and other important conservation organizations to publish the CEMEX Conservation Book Series to help raise awareness of the necessity to preserve our natural world.”

This book is a celebration nature’s ecological services and demonstrates in detail how they contribute to our health, economic prosperity, and cultural values.

Russ Mittermeier, President of CI, who, together with Jeff McNeely of IUCN led the group of scientists, said: “Nature provides services that are essential to sustain all life on the planet. These services must be valued according to the benefits that they provide to people, and those communities who work to protect them should be financially compensated for this. Economic instruments are a way to encourage better management of ecosystems.”

The Wealth of Nature is illustrated with hundreds of amazing full-color photographs by a host of world-renowned nature photographers, including noted wildlife photographer Frans Lanting, the award-winning Jenny E. Ross and endangered species photographer Joel Sartore. “Photography moves people and take them to places they could not see by themselves. We hope to shine a light on some the most pressing environmental issues of today and inspire the public to take care of the natural world,” said Cristina Mittermeier, Executive Director of the ILCP.

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Photos available here: http://bit.ly/iVPC9

For more information:

Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui, CI
Mobile: +1 571 225-8345
Office: +1 703 341 2471
Email: p.malentaqui@conservation.org

Jorge Perez, CEMEX
Mobile: +52 181 8259-6666
Office: +52 81 8888-4334
Email: wemaster@cemex.com

Pia Drzewinski, IUCN
Mobile + 41 76 505 88 65
Office + 41 22 999 0313
Email: pia.drzewinski@iucn.org

Notes to editors:

The Wealth of Nature – Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Human Well-Being
ISBN-13:978-0-9841686-0-6  
Publication date: October 2009 
Suggested Retail Price: $58
More info: www.thewealthofnature.org
Order The Wealth of Nature from Conservation International (PDF - 5.4 KB)

IUCN: The International Union for Conservation of Nature helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries.  IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland. www.iucn.org

CEMEX: Founded in 1906, CEMEX is a growing global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future. For more information, visit www.cemex.com

ILCP is a project-driven organization with a mission to translate conservation science into compelling visual messages. We work with leading scientists, governments, and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it. The photographers of the ILCP are distinguished by the unique set of skills, talent and years of field experience documenting complex environmental subjects, and a commitment to conserve the landscapes, people, and wildlife in the places where they work. The work of ILCP photographers covers the entire range of threats to biodiversity and is a critical component in the conservation toolbox. For more information, visit www.ilcp.com

Conservation International (CI): Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information, visit www.conservation.org

The WILD Foundation: Founded in 1974, WILD is the only international organization dedicated entirely and explicitly to wilderness protection around the world. WILD works to protect the planet's last wild places and the wildlife and people who depend upon them, because wilderness areas provide essential social, spiritual, biological and economic benefits. We believe that intact wilderness areas are an essential core element of a healthy modern society. For more information, visit www.wild.org