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<div class=Section1>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:22.0pt'>$130,000 to $1.2 million / ht / yr: Experts<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:10.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:16.0pt'>Economists, Assigning Values to &#8220;Ecosystem
Services,&#8221; Report Staggering Totals and Rates of Return on Investment<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:16.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:14.0pt'>600 biodiversity experts from 70 countries issue Cape
Town declaration<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:14.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:14.0pt'>Risks of Importing Disease Grow with Rising Pet Trade<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><b><span
style='font-size:19.0pt'>&nbsp;</span></b><b><span style='font-size:8.0pt'><o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Experts
concluding the global DIVERSITAS biodiversity conference today in Cape Town
described preliminary research revealing jaw-dropping dollar values of the
&#8220;ecosystem services&#8221; of biomes like forests and coral reefs &#8211;
including food, pollution treatment and climate regulation.<span
style='font-size:12.0pt'><o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Undertaken
to help societies make better-informed choices, the economic research shows a
single hectare of coral reef, for example, provides annual services to humans
valued at US $130,000 on average, rising to as much as $1.2 million.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>The
work provides insights into the worth of ecosystems in human economic terms,
says economist Pavan Sukhdev of UNEP, head of a Cambridge, England-based
project called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Based
on analysis of more than 80 coral reef valuation studies, the worth of services
per hectare of coral reef breaks down as follows:<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Food, raw materials, ornamental resources: average $1,100 (up to $6,000);<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, waste treatment / water
purification, biological control: average $26,000 (up to $35,000);<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Cultural services (eg. recreation / tourism): average $88,700 (up to $1.1
million)<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Maintenance of genetic diversity: average $13,500 (up to $57,000)<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Taken
together, coral reef services worldwide have an average annual value estimated
at $172 billion, says Mr. Sukhdev.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>He
notes the growing scientific agreement that coral reefs are unlikely to survive
if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels exceed 350 parts per million.&nbsp; Negotiators
of a new climate change deal in Copenhagen in December, however, &#8220;would
be proud&#8221; to achieve an agreement that limits atmospheric carbon to 450
parts per million, he says, calling that &#8220;a death sentence on the
world&#8217;s coral reefs.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Halving
the destruction of tropical forests, meanwhile, would allow them to continue
absorbing roughly 4.8 gigatonnes of carbon per year, slow the rise of
atmospheric carbon levels and forestall anticipated climate change damage.&nbsp;
Halving deforestation has a net present value estimated at $3.7 trillion,
according to research.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>The
economic choice of turning such forests into timber or clearing them to make
way for agriculture is &#8220;not very clever,&#8221; says Mr. Sukhdev.&nbsp;
&#8220;Stopping deforestation offers an excellent cost-benefit ratio.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>&#8220;Investment
in protected areas holds exceptional high returns,&#8221; he says.&nbsp; Previous
studies have shown that investing $45 billion &#8220;could secure nature-based
services worth some $4.5 to 5.2 trillion annually.&#8221;&nbsp; Among the specific
examples cited: planting mangroves along a coastline in Vietnam cost $1.1
million but saved $ 7.3 million annually in dyke maintenance.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Examples
of a rate of return on investments in ecosystem restoration:<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Coral reefs: 7%, (with a cost-benefit ratio of 2.8); <o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Rivers: 27%, (cost-benefit ratio 15.5);<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Tropical forests: 50% (cost-benefit ratio 37.3);<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Mangroves: 40%, (cost-benefit ratio 26.4);<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>*
Grasslands: 79%, (cost-benefit ratio 75.1). <o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>(see
full graph online at: <a
href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OJDD8RZoYCo/StcIYKMgwmI/AAAAAAAABX8/8FvgumI3wgY/s1600-h/TTB+Graph.jpg">http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_OJDD8RZoYCo/StcIYKMgwmI/AAAAAAAABX8/8FvgumI3wgY/s1600-h/TTB+Graph.jpg</a>)
<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>TEEB
is a UNEP-led project supported by the European Commission, German Federal
Ministry for the Environment, and the UK Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><span lang=EN-ZA>Biodiversity and society: understanding
connections, adapting to change.<o:p></o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><span lang=EN-ZA><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Over
600 scientists attending the international 2<sup>nd</sup> Open Science
Conference Oct. 13-16 hosted by DIVERSITAS, a Paris-based NGO, issued a
concluding statement confirming that, &#8220;<span lang=EN-ZA>as we approach
the 2010 Year of Biodiversity &#8230; the fabric out of which the Earth system
is woven is unravelling at an accelerating rate.&#8221; <o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA>&#8220;At the same time, we are discovering ever more about
biodiversity and the benefits it provides to people. It is clear that
biodiversity loss erodes the integrity of ecosystems and their capacity to
adapt in a changing world. It represents a serious risk to human wellbeing and
a squandering of current assets and future opportunities. <o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA>&#8220;The biodiversity scientists gathered here commit themselves
to finding practical solutions to this problem. They will do so by: increasing
shared knowledge of biodiversity and its functions; helping to develop systems
for monitoring the biodiversity of the planet; and being responsive to the
knowledge needs of society with clear communication of findings.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA>&#8220;The proposed mechanism for the ongoing evaluation and
communication of scientific evidence on these issues is an Intergovernmental
Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). We call on governments
and non-governmental organisations to join us in establishing IPBES as soon as
possible. We urge policy-makers to act swiftly and effectively on the
already-established and future findings relating to ways of limiting further
biodiversity loss and restoring ecosystem services.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-ZA>&#8220;Meeting current and future human needs must make adequate
provision for the complex web of life of which people are an integral part.
People everywhere must give effect to their shared desire for a
biologically-rich and productive planet through their individual decisions and
political voices.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN-US><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><b>Growth
of global pet trade risks health<o:p></o:p></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Among
dozens of conference presentations, US experts warned that the risk of
importing diseases is rising in tandem with growth of the multi-billion dollar
pet animal trade.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>The
US alone imports some 200 million such animals annually from 194 countries.&nbsp;
Most were captured from the wild and most arrived from Southeast Asia, a
hotspot incubator of emerging diseases.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>A
study lead by Katherine Smith of Brown University found just 13% of animal
shipments allowed in were classified by species &#8211; most were admitted with
vague labels like &#8220;live vertebrate&#8221; or &#8220;fish,&#8221; raising
concerns about not just disease but potentially introducing invasive species
that could harm native ecosystems, wildlife and domestic animals.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>She
estimated 2,241 non-native species were imported to the U.S. between 2000 and
2006 and says there have been 335 outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases
since 1940, 75% of which had animal origins.&nbsp; Among the outbreaks: a 2003 US
outbreak of monkeypox traced to African rodents imported for pets, SARS in
2002, West Nile Virus in 1999, smallpox in the 1500s and syphilis in the 1400s.<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN>&quot;The threat to public health is real, as the majority of emerging
diseases come from wildlife,&quot; says Dr. Smith, who listed dozens of </span>fevers,
encephalitis, Leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis among the health threats.<span
lang=EN-US><o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN>J</span>ust 100 inspectors at US borders are tasked with inspecting the
shipments, she adds.&nbsp; <span lang=EN>From 2000 through 2006, the U.S. imported
more than 1.5 billion live animals, roughly equal to five animals for every
citizen.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'>Pet
shops could face tighter restrictions if the controversial Nonnative Wildlife
Invasion Prevention Act gets voted into law.<span lang=EN-US><o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
lang=EN>The researchers call for:<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<ul type=disc>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto;
     mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1'><span lang=EN>Stricter record keeping to help
     assess risk on animal imports. <o:p></o:p></span></li>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto;
     mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1'><span lang=EN>Third-party surveillance and
     testing for both known and unknown pathogens at the exportation points in
     foreign countries. <o:p></o:p></span></li>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto;
     mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1'><span lang=EN>Greater education of citizens,
     importers, veterinarians and pet industry advocates about the dangers of
     diseases that emerge from wildlife and that can make their way to
     domesticated animals and humans.<o:p></o:p></span></li>
</ul>

<pre style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
class=HTMLTypewriter2><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:
"Times New Roman","serif";color:black'>The conference concluded with a major plenary, chaired by leading expert Lijbert Brussaard, of </span></span><span
lang=EN-US style='font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>Wageningen University, The Netherlands,</span><span
class=HTMLTypewriter2><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:
"Times New Roman","serif";color:black'> on ways to reconcile the competing Millennium Development Goals of protecting biodiversity, reducing world hunger and alleviating poverty.<o:p></o:p></span></span></pre><pre
style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
class=HTMLTypewriter2><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:
"Times New Roman","serif";color:black'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></span></pre><pre
style='line-height:17.0pt;mso-line-height-rule:exactly'><span
class=HTMLTypewriter2><span lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:
"Times New Roman","serif";color:black'>Among other measures, the experts called for a reduction in the estimated 30 to 40% of food lost through spoilage and waste.<o:p></o:p></span></span></pre>

<p class=MsoNormal><span lang=EN-GB style='font-size:12.0pt'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'><span lang=EN-US><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal align=center style='text-align:center'>* * * * *<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p style='margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt'><b><span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>DIVERSITAS </span></b><span
lang=EN-US style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>(the
Latin word for diversity) brings together biological, ecological and social
sciences to address key questions that underlie our limited understanding of the
current situation.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<ul style='margin-top:0cm' type=disc>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='color:black;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2'>How much
     biodiversity exists and how does its change or loss affect the system as a
     whole? <span style='font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'><o:p></o:p></span></li>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='color:black;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2'>How does
     biodiversity correspond to the delivery of ecosystem functions and
     services, and what is the true value of these commodities? <o:p></o:p></li>
 <li class=MsoNormal style='color:black;mso-list:l1 level1 lfo2'>How can
     scientific investigation support policy and decision making to encourage
     more sustainable use of biodiversity? <o:p></o:p></li>
</ul>

<p style='margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt'><span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>Armed with a
broader, deeper knowledge of biodiversity, we will be better equipped to
safeguard the future of Earth&#8217;s natural resources.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><span lang=EN-GB style='font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></b></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><b><span lang=EN-GB>For more information: </span></b><span
lang=EN-GB>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.diversitas-osc.org/">www.diversitas-osc.org</a><o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>Jenni Metcalfe<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>Director Econnect Communication<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>PO Box 734<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>South Brisbane Q 4101<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>Australia<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>www.econnect.com.au<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>jenni@econnect.com.au<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>phone: + 61 7 3846 7111, +0408 551 866<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal>skype:&nbsp; jenni.metcalfe<o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p>

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