The costs of saving nature: Does it make “cents”?

06 Dec 2017

Clearing wild forests to grow food, fibre, and fuel products can deliver large financial gains. However, the benefits that people obtain from forests—known as ecosystem services—are rarely considered in economic calculations, partly because there are few markets onto which they can be traded. In some regions, the benefits delivered by nature might be more economically valuable. A new study maps where it is profitable to replace tropical forests with cropland and how this might change under future agricultural production and carbon prices. The findings address a major applied challenge by helping to identify sites where forest conservation can be economically viable.