What's a forest worth?

Understanding attitudes and preferences towards tropical forests and gauging the demand for international payments for ecosystem services

Mamberamo river view, Papua Photo: Agni Boedhihartono

Tropical forests have become a prominent feature of current international environmental discussions, due notably to their role in regulating the global climate. However, forests are much more than carbon sinks. A recent research project has shed some light on the multiple values that are commonly associated with forests and the amount that people might be willing to pay to ensure that these benefits are preserved. The results of a survey carried out in Geneva, Switzerland show that the general public is particularly sensitive to the biodiversity benefits of forest conservation. Financing mechanisms that are able to adequately capture the biodiversity value of tropical forests are thus seen as having significantly more potential than those focusing exclusively on carbon.

The project was implemented by IUCN in collaboration with UNEP and the Geneva School of Business Administration, and was made possible by the generous support of the Swiss Network for International Studies.

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