The degradation of ecosystems is one of the key challenges facing humanity. Science increasingly exposes the negative impacts of ecosystem degradation involving the loss of productive soils, depletion of water supplies and alteration of local and global climate processes.
In the course of the coming decades, the impacts for society are likely to be severe, in particular for the poorest countries and within these countries for the poorest part of society. In the long-term, economic development and poverty alleviation cannot be successful unless the progressive and often irreversible depletion of ecosystem capital is arrested. Sustainable use is required both to safeguard the essential life-support services provided by ecosystems (e.g. water supply, climate regulation at the global and continental scale) and the biodiversity contained in ecosystems, which in turn, contributes to ensuring the functioning of ecosystems and maintaining the services they supply.
These are the opening lines of the blog Prof. Dr. Lars Hein of the Environmental Systems Analysis Group wrote for the website of the Conservation Finance Alliance.