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Economic Benefits of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is “the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems." It is the foundation of life on Earth. - International Union for Conservation of Nature, (About Biodiversity, http://iucn.org/what/tpas/biodiversity/about at 11/14/2011)

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries products, stable natural hydrological cycles, fertile soils, a balanced climate and numerous other vital ecosystem services depend upon the conservation of biological diversity. Food production relies on biodiversity for a variety of food plants, pollination, pest control, nutrient provision, genetic diversity, and disease prevention and control. Both medicinal plants and manufactured pharmaceuticals rely on biodiversity. Decreased biodiversity can lead to increased transmission of diseases to humans and increased healthcare costs. The outdoor tourism industry relies on biodiversity to create and maintain that which tourists come to see, as does the multi-billion dollar fishing and hunting industry.