Study shows economic benefits of investing in nature

Researchers looked at nature’s benefits to the economy

Investing in nature can mean an economic payoff for countries, too, researchers found. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that while current trends in environmental degradation will lead to economic losses in the coming decades, those trends can be turned around.

“Traditional economic models almost completely neglect the fact that the economy relies on nature,” said study co-author Thomas Hertel, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue.

The new study looks at how nature benefits humans by pollinating crops, providing timber, storing carbon and providing catch for marine fisheries, and how those benefits affect the economy overall. Examining policy options for investing in nature, researchers calculated potential annual gains of $100 million to $350 million in countries’ gross domestic product, with the largest increases in low-income countries.

Continued trends in environmental degradation, by contrast, would result in $75 billion in global losses annually.

Read more from Purdue University.

Header Image: A new study looks at nature’s contributions to the economy, including pollination and natural resources. Credit: Peter Pearsall/USFWS