In 2019, XPRIZE Rainforest opened its doors and challenged the world to develop new biodiversity assessment technologies by offering a $10 million prize for the best one. The consequent mobilization will extend over 5 years, will inspire the creation of various new biodiversity tech companies, and can help us discover many new ways to ensure that the Amazon rainforest is worth more alive and standing than cut and burned. What is the economic value of the rainforest? What pre-existing markets can new biodiversity tech tap into for growth beyond the prize? What is the economic argument for XPRIZE Rainforest participation and entrepreneurship? Rainforest in Southern China. Photo credit: Rhett A. Butler While rainforests provide $4 trillion/year in value through ecosystem services to the global economy, over $941 billion of annual corporate revenue is at risk due to dependency on commodities linked to deforestation. Correspondingly, a 2019 paper made the financial argument for conserving 30% of terrestrial nature by demonstrating how the economic benefits outweigh the costs by a factor of 5 to 1. And, finally, a 1996 paper outlines a protocol for calculating the commercial value of biodiversity on a given plot of land. If, despite these numbers, governments have failed to halt deforestation to date, can we persuade the private sector to do so based on opportunities for future profits? Based on the numbers, we should be able to. According to data from the 1990s, 25% of pharmaceutical drugs at the time were derived from tropical forests. Of the estimated 80,000 plant species in the Amazon, only 5% have been tested for their…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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