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Thread: Putting a Price on Environmental Services

  1. #1 Putting a Price on Environmental Services 
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    Hey,

    I just read in a BBC article that "Globally, pollination is estimated to be worth $141bn each year." Here's the link:

    BBC News - 'Pollination crisis' hitting India's vegetable farmers

    I have two questions:

    1) Do we have an alternative to insect-driven pollination?
    2) If not, isn't pollination's value therefore "priceless"?

    Any ideas/information would be much appreciated.

    Cheers.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    The alternative is a wide range of insect species, which pollinate. Many not very effectively, but they still do it. Pollinating insects can be increased artificially, with assorted insect colonies encouraged. Without insects, the only alternative is hand pollination, which is time consuming and expensive in that you gotta pay for all that labour.


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  4. #3  
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    Would introducing species artificially be able to maintain the same results as natural pollination in the long-term? There are so many historical examples of artificial species-introduction having devastating effects e.g. rabbits in Australia.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I think you would encourage colonies of native insects, but I'm not sure.
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  6. #5  
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    Does anyone know of any cases where insects have been successfully re-introduced in order to provide pollination services?
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  7. #6  
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    I'm an environmental scientist working in DST group, Toronto.In India Insects are disappearing due to the overuse of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Also heard that the increase in mobile phone also towers affects the survival of pollinating insects.Although many environmental scientist and government departments who looks after environmental services demands deep study on the matter, it fell only on deaf ears.Your second question is very true.Pollination value is 'priceless'.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Many times when farmers use chemicals to kill certain insects that chemical will kill the good ones as well and other wildlife as we learned with DDT.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
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  9. #8  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    The issue is that it is difficult to price out environmental health. Because the impacts are so vast and often difficult to correlate, there is often no way to know what your ROI really is when you spend money on environmental concerns.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  10. #9  
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    The broader question is should we even put a price on environmental damage. How shallow of a culture only views the value of things through its ability to be purchased, traded or sold--damn shallow I think.
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  11. #10  
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    Is now the right time for the entirely predictable extract from Oscar Wilde?

    The price of everything and the value of nothing.

    He used this to criticise cynicism but it seems now to be a valid criticism of far too many political and economic notions.
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  12. #11  
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    I totally approve the effort to pricetag these things.

    Because it talks to a greater audience in a way people can relate more easily and since these things are decided by politician, awareness is power. I wish it was unnecessary but it is. Most people have no clue and are happy staying clueless.

    Oscar wilde had a point though.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
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  13. #12  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The broader question is should we even put a price on environmental damage. How shallow of a culture only views the value of things through its ability to be purchased, traded or sold--damn shallow I think.
    The price of such things would be determined by the person pricing it out.

    If you asked Mitch Daniels the price of paving over 300 acres of wetlands (90% of which have been lost in our state) and 1500 acres of high-quality forest, he would consider that natural environment to be a hurdle to making money. Is he ignorant of the environmental impact? Probably not. Is he apathetic to it? Seems like it since we now have a giant concrete scar through one of our last, and largest, forests in Indiana.

    The fact remains that there aren't many jobs to be created by protecting a patch of forest. There isn't any money to be made in that forest compared to what you can do with the land once you remove the forest. Sure, you could suffer massive financial hits if your devastation of that wetland leads to hydrology disturbances that increase the severity of flood events or cause crop droughts, but how do you convince people that those possibilities outweigh the benefit of clearing the forest and developing the area to bring in jobs?
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    The fact remains that there aren't many jobs to be created by protecting a patch of forest. There isn't any money to be made in that forest compared to what you can do with the land once you remove the forest. Sure, you could suffer massive financial hits if your devastation of that wetland leads to hydrology disturbances that increase the severity of flood events or cause crop droughts, but how do you convince people that those possibilities outweigh the benefit of clearing the forest and developing the area to bring in jobs?
    To be honest I'm not sure, and think it's most difficult for those who already view the world through the lens of fiscal gain and loss.

    In the long term though it requires teaching people, particularly younger people, a combinations of facts about biology and ecology, as well as to develop an appreciation for less tangible things such as the beauty of nature in its wondrous complexity--all of which are probably best accomplished through visiting that forest (or any other natural ecology) and coming to understand it through the lens of science and art.
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  15. #14  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    The fact remains that there aren't many jobs to be created by protecting a patch of forest. There isn't any money to be made in that forest compared to what you can do with the land once you remove the forest. Sure, you could suffer massive financial hits if your devastation of that wetland leads to hydrology disturbances that increase the severity of flood events or cause crop droughts, but how do you convince people that those possibilities outweigh the benefit of clearing the forest and developing the area to bring in jobs?
    To be honest I'm not sure, and think it's most difficult for those who already view the world through the lens of fiscal gain and loss.

    In the long term though it requires teaching people, particularly younger people, a combinations of facts about biology and ecology, as well as to develop an appreciation for less tangible things such as the beauty of nature in its wondrous complexity--all of which are probably best accomplished through visiting that forest (or any other natural ecology) and coming to understand it through the lens of science and art.
    Completely agree.

    I found an issue with my two young cousins; they don't like to be outside.

    Camping? No internet.

    Hiking? Too hot.

    Games? They're better on Xbox.

    There's always the issue of generational amnesia as well. Kids today in Indiana are growing up without 90% of the wetlands that soil science tells us should be there. To them, this is Indiana in its natural state. They genuinely think Brown county or Turkey Run (small parks) are wild frontiers. Unless you can find a way to make historical biogeography fun and entertaining, it's kind of tough to get these kids to understand how important ecology is. In this respect, I have a huge amount of appreciation for science popularists.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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