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Funds for biodiversity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 February 2003

Stefan Gössling
Institute of Cultural Geography, Freiburg University, Werderring 4, 79085 Freiburg, Germany Tel: +49 761 2033567 Fax: +49 761 2033575 e-mail:


A number of recent publications have pointed out the accelerating speed at which ecosystems and biodiversity are being lost (United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Environment Programme/The World Bank/The World Resources Institute 2000). The general view is that conservation can only be achieved in a global network of protected areas (see Pimm et al. 2001). To safeguard the most important ecosystems, Myers et al. (2000) have suggested that we primarily conserve 25 biodiversity hotspots, in particular forests, comprising 1.4% of the land surface of the Earth. The costs for the conservation of these hotspots have been estimated at US$ 500 million per year (Myers et al. 2000), while the costs of a global network of protected areas may even reach US$ 27.5 billion per year (James et al. 1999). Even though these costs may seem minor compared to, for example, the costs of global armament, governments in developing countries and environmental organizations are clearly not in the position to finance conservation. It is thus urgent to raise additional funds to safeguard biodiversity. In the following, I suggest a twofold strategy, based on tourism.

© 2002 Foundation for Environmental Conservation

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