What happens to economic output if we expand protected areas to 30 percent of land and sea worldwide? Anthony Waldron, the lead author of a new study about the economic benefits of land conservation, posed this question at a recent Wilson Center virtual event on the role of Latin America in global biodiversity conservation.
The new study from Cambridge University, which Waldron worked on with 100 international scientists and economists, found that biodiversity conservation increases economic output. In protected areas, economic growth would expand at 8 to 10 times the rate of other competing sectors, Waldron said. This is primarily because the ecotourism sector would expand, paralleling the growth in protected areas. Tourists will stay in local hotels and eat in the local restaurants,