This article was originally published on Nature – High time to invest in biodiversity. Nat Ecol Evol 5, 263 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01416-0
“A need for more equitable spending to conserve and restore nature was one of the key recommendations of the independent Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity, led by economist Partha Dasgupta and commissioned by the UK Treasury, published on 2 February 20217. The Review emphasizes that reversing the trend of biodiversity loss now will be less costly than delay. It identifies deep-rooted institutional failure as the heart of the problem of biodiversity loss, and calls for a fundamental change in our definition of wealth: away from the mindset of unsustainable growth characterized by GDP measures, and towards an inclusive measure of wealth that recognizes natural assets. It is sad that conservation scientist Georgina Mace did not live to see this very prominent integration of many of her ideas around natural capital8.
This sober and evidenced recognition of the need for transformed ideas of wealth and progress is welcome, but should also be accompanied by a pragmatic acceptance that rich nations — by current definitions — should pay more, immediately, to conserve and preserve nature. Implementing both transformative change and rapid spending on biodiversity seems difficult in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread individual economic hardship in many ‘wealthy’ nations. It will require extreme political will not to fall back on retrograde economic fixes.”
How does it connect to capitals? This article brings together research and opinion to build a strong case for investing in biodiversity. With references to the Dasgupta Review, natural capital and inclusive wealth are discussed, and the authors express their hope for ambitious post-2020 biodiversity goals which can be strengthened through a capitals approach.