Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 313–333 | Cite as

Do we really care about Biodiversity?

  • David Pearce


This paper addresses from an economic perspective the issue of global biodiversity conservation. It challenges the perception that the world really cares a great deal about biodiversity and is prepared to pay the full cost of maintaining this stock of natural capital. Despite the existence of a plethora of international agreements there still seems to be a global ‘deficit of care’ surrounding efforts to combat challenges such as those posed by global warming and biodiversity conservation. More light can be thrown on the degree of care by measuring both the actual expenditures and the stated willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation. However, actual expenditures are much lower than willingness to pay estimates recorded in the published literature. Using the criteria that the ‘right’ amount of conservation effort is one where the marginal economic benefits from conservation just equal the marginal costs of conservation, the paper explores the biodiversity conservation conundrum and concluded that, on the available evidence, the world does not care too much about this natural capital stock and bequests to future generations.


Biodiversity conservation Conservation management costs Willingness to pay for conservation Ecosystem service Cost benefit analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Pearce
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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