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The Importance and Benefits of Species [Current Biology]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Humans depend on biodiversity in myriad ways, yet species are being rapidly lost due to human activities. The ecosystem services approach to conservation tries to establish the value that society derives from the natural world such that the true cost of proposed development actions becomes apparent to decision makers. Species are an integral component of ecosystems, and the value they provide in terms of services should be a standard part of ecosystem assessments. However, assessing the value of species is difficult and will always remain incomplete. Some of the most difficult species’ benefits to assess are those that accrue unexpectedly or are wholly unanticipated. In this review, we consider recent examples from a wide variety of species and a diverse set of ecosystem services that illustrate this point and support the application of the precautionary principle to decisions affecting the natural world.

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