Scientists show how species diversity can pay dividends - For decades, conservationists have focused on the possible costs of extinction: the effects on a lost species' predators, prey and environment, or the effects on people who can no longer use the species for food or clothing. In many cases, these costs are seen as ambiguous.

Now, a collaboration of scientists has developed one of the first models to assign a dollar value to the loss or gain of species in an ecosystem. The new work, published in Science Advances, offers an economic argument for preserving biodiversity.
"Biodiversity evokes exotic birds, tropical forests, the beauty of nature. Money isn't usually what comes to mind," said Natasja van Gestel, co-author on the study and a research assistant professor at the Texas Tech University Climate Science Center. "But biodiversity has monetary value, and in this study, we figured out how much value for one critical ecosystem service: carbon storage."

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