Whilst the Earth’s diversity of species and habitats must be preserved first and foremost for their intrinsic value, the solution (from a socio-economic perspective) lies in recognizing and valuing nature for the ecological services it provides – upon which societies and economies are built. Nature, or “Natural Capital” – biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services – must be preserved and restored as the foundation of human societies and economies.
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The ‘solution’ addressed the issue of unsustainable extraction of park’s bio-resources by the local communities resulting in adverse park-people relations. Rather than preventing users to rely on bio-resources for their incomes, the ‘solution’ created alternative livelihood strategies and options that centered on the sustainable use practices and in doing so created a meaningful stake of local communities in managing the Park.
Biodiversity offsets offer a promising option for promoting the conservation and sustainable management of natural ecosystems on an expanded scale. In an era of often flat--and sometimes declining--governmental support for conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets can provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding. This funding can come from public infrastructure accounts (such as for dams and roads) as well as from the private sector (including extractive industries).
Estimating the funding required for biodiversity conservation in general, and protected area management in particular, is a formidable challenge on account of multitude of interrelated issues and the wide range of stakeholders involved. The issue of ‘scale’ has an overriding significance. It is relatively simpler to estimate funding requirements for a single protected area, and much more complicated for estimating funding requirements for the entire protected area network.
The Global Conservation Fund (GCF), at Conservation International, finances the creation, expansion and long-term management of priority areas for conservation. Made possible by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the GCF has catalyzed more than US$ 200 million for protected area conservation. GCF investments have resulted in the creation and/or expansion of 77 protected areas, resulting in conservation of more than 80 million hectares (197 million acres) around the world.