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Posts with label 'Lower Mekong Basin'
The quote of Dr. John Ward, MERFI

An Interview with Dr. Alex Smajgl and Dr. John Ward of the Mekong Region Futures Institute

Rivers help to purify water. Mangroves protect against coastal erosion and storm surge. Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere and provide a rich variety of edible and medicinal plants. These are just a few examples of the many types of “services” that ecosystems – whether in urban areas such as Bangkok or rural villages in the Lower Mekong Basin – provide to communities on a regular basis. Moreover, many ecosystems have spiritual and cultural significance for local populations. In both urban and rural Thailand, many trees can be found wrapped in colorful swaths of cloth. These are believed to be spirit trees that should not be cut down.

INFOGRAPHIC: USAID Mekong ARCC's Ecosystems Service Valuation Country Case Studies

If a tree falls in the forest but no one hears it, did the tree really fall?

You’ve likely heard this well-pondered riddle already so how about this one:

If an entire forest is cleared to build a new highway, but no one knows the existing value of the forest to local communities, does losing the forest really cost local communities anything?

While the concept of “natural capital” is widely recognized, capturing its value can be challenging. How do you compare the loss of the forest and its myriad, though perhaps undocumented, benefits against the cold hard calculations of the economic returns from a new highway? One answer is through ecosystem service valuation, or ESV for short.

John Talberth's quote on making smarter investments in adaptation measures earlier.

Climate change is something often discussed in the future tense—“temperatures will rise…”, “when annual rainfall increases…”, “if flash flooding occurs more often…” Projected changes in temperatures and rainfall are associated with potential impacts on natural resources, usually anticipated 15–40 years into the future. Grasping these projections can be a challenge for a farmer who isn’t sure whether he’ll even make enough income from the next harvest to cover debts or pay for his children’s annual school fees. It can be equally challenging for policymakers in the Mekong region, who must weigh short-term development gains with longer term economic and non-market costs.

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