Today, our planet is witnessing species perishing at an alarming rate, more than ever before in the history of humankind. Climate change, global warming and human activities like logging, farming and fishing are driving around 1 million plant and animal species to extinction.
This despite the fact that many ecosystems now at risk can provide valuable services if they are protected. In fact, a recent report shows that coral reefs in U.S. waters, from Florida and the Caribbean to Hawaii and Guam, provide the country with more than $1.8 billion dollars in flood protection benefits every year.
They reduce direct flood damages to public and private property worth more than $800 million annually, and help avert other costs to lives and livelihoods worth an additional $1 billion. Rigorously valuing reef benefits in this way is the first step toward mobilizing resources to protect them.