By Lillian Aluanga
Restoration of the worldâs ecosystems could provide the key to reducing poverty, creating jobs and improving food security.
According to findings of a report titled Dead Planet, Living Planet-Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration for Sustainable Development, restoration of forests, mangroves, coral reefs, soils, and even fresh water, could trigger huge returns that would change the lives of millions across the world.
Said UN Under-Secretary General and Unep Executive Director Achim Steiner : "Restoration is not only possible but can prove highly profitable in terms of public savings; returns and the broad objectives of overcoming poverty and achieving sustainability." Nile waters and the Mau Forest destruction have been on focus in matters conservation.
Nile waters and the Mau Forest destruction have been on focus in matters conservation.
The report, released on the eve of World Environment Day, documents more than 30 successful case studies of restoration projects ranging from deserts and rainforests to rivers and coasts, and underlines the positive effects on the worldâs development goals.
"This report is aimed at bringing two fundamental messages to governments, communities and citizens," said Steiner.
"Namely that mismanagement of natural and nature-based assets is under cutting development on a scale that dwarfs the recent economic crisis. And that well-planned investments and re-investments in the restoration of these vast, natural and nature-based utilities has a high rate of return."
Ecosystems like forests, coral reefs, soils and freshwater are estimated to provide services worth over $70 trillion a year to the worldâs population. These services include food security, keeping waters clean, providing buffers against extreme weather and providing medicine.
For instance forested wetlands are believed to treat more waste water than traditional sand filtration in treatment plants, while many of the worldâs key crops like coffee, tea and mangoes depend on the pollination and pest control services of birds and insects. Sea grasses, marshes and tropical forests are also important in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, but their steady decline may accelerate climate change and worsen countriesâ vulnerabilities to its effects.
Estimates show that the projected loss of services provided by ecosystems could lead up to 25 per cent loss in the worldâs food production by 2050, increasing the risks of hunger for a global population of six billion, which is estimated to rise to over nine billion by 2050.
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