This article was originally published on The Nation.
“For Petch Manopawitr, a conservationist and a deputy director and Thailand programme coordinator of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Southeast Asia, the problem with conservation work is that it is generally seen as intangible, not being able to be measured or valued.
Often, ecosystems are seen as valueless, as they cannot be valued in monetary terms – and this has become a problem when it comes to development, Petch said. This issue has become more critical as natural resources and the environment have been degraded or depleted worldwide in recent decades.
IUCN, he said, has been working with its partners in the project, Natural Capital Protocol, to create a framework to help measure and value ecological services derived from natural capital, as well as the impacts of business entities on these resources. In Thailand, measuring natural capital has been explored in the case of the Mae Wong dam project, under which its ecosystems and ecological services were valued.
Petch saw the case of the black leopard as a challenge for concerned authorities to think harder. They need to be able to explain their logic to the people to gain their acceptance. “The black leopard case, if successful, would set a precedent for others to follow. It’s not just a criminal offence that people would face when they illegally exploit natural resources and the environment, but they would face a civil case that helps reflect the true ecological loss. This, in turn, will help deter them,” said Petch…”
Read on at: The Nation.