In an eloquent and passionate piece in the journal Nature (Vol 443, 7 September 2006), Douglas J. McCauley argues that conservation strategies based on the market value of ecosystem services are not working to protect our wildlife. He urges a return to the protection of nature for nature's sake, rather than as a life support system for the human species. As conservation tools, ecosystem services have gained an importance that far outweighs their usefulness and ignores their limitations.
- We assume that ecosystems are essentially benevolent, and ignore the fact that they work for the benefit of all species not just us.
- By incorporating ecosystems into our economic fabric, we leave them vulnerable to the whims of the market, which operate on time scales often too short for the environment to respond.
- There is an implicit assumption that nature conservation is only worth doing if it turns a profit.
- There is nothing to prevent a "devaluation of nature" if the economic or tecnological climate changes.
- Making money and protecting the environment are all too often mutually exclusive.
Link to article