If Money Talks, Maybe It’s Time to Give Ecosystems a Voice – March 28, 2013
As traditional conservation methods fail to staunch biodiversity loss, some conservationists are embracing the idea of “ecosystems services”
Oysters help people. Besides the obvious benefits as a food source, healthy oyster reefs provide the critical service of reducing wave size and corresponding storm surges along temperate coasts around the world. Even so, more than 85 percent of oyster reefs have disappeared worldwide due to overharvesting, dredging, pollution, and disease. Oyster populations in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, have suffered a full century of decline. Native oyster beds there received sparse attention and few protections — until Hurricane Katrina, that is. Then suddenly policy makers and members of the public were clamoring to know more about what the oyster ecosystem was worth.