A report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reveals for the first time the economic cost of the decline of nature for 140 countries by 2050. Madagascar is at the first place of the countries whose economies will be hit.
According to this study, the Big Island, which is already one of the poorest countries in the world, will lose 4.2% of its GDP within 30 years if the environment continues to deteriorate at the current pace.
To reach this conclusion, scientists started from a first principle: nature provides economies with many benefits through ecological services. Among them: the pollination of crops, water supply, sea and forest resources and even coastal protection. A deteriorated environment cannot provide the same benefits.
In Madagascar, this is already clearly visible. The widespread degradation of mangroves, already denounced by WWF, and of coral reefs will no longer be able to halt coastal erosion as it should. The direct effect on the economy: endangered fishing areas and crops.
The danger of forest death
An example: in twenty years, the Big Island has lost 58,000 hectares of mangroves. However, they play an important economic role since they can produce up to 2.5 tons of crabs per square kilometer according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The disappearance of forests, another major scourge in the country, has a huge impact on soil fertility and therefore on crops. In the far south of the island, infertile soils are already pushing people to cultivate inside protected forests. Degraded nature will reduce food production and increase prices.
With this report, WWF hopes to raise awareness among leaders. The Malagasy authorities have made reforestation a priority. But to reverse the trend, efforts must focus on protecting all biodiversity.
[Source: RFI of February 17, 2020]