Here’s a darn good reason for Filipinos to protect or conserve local wildlife: these animals have actual economic value.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) recently released details of an “economic valuation study” of threatened species–specifically, marine turtles and blue-naped parrots–bring greater appreciation and attention to the economic benefit of wildlife conservation.
“We hope that in popularizing the findings, we can entice more Filipinos to think about the long-term benefits of our wildlife such as marine turtles and blue-naped parrots, and not just short-time gains,” DENR Sec. Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement Monday, March 29.
Based on the study, one marine turtle is projected to have an economic use value of P4.80 million (estimated US$95,900) throughout its 57-year lifetime.This is based on its ecological role in coastal and marine ecosystems (P900,000 per turtle) and on the tourism value it generates (P3.90 million per turtle).
Meanwhile, the annual use value of the entire population of the Philippine marine turtle, which is conservatively estimated at 7,294 individuals by the DENR-BMB, ranged between P2.89 billion and P3.19 billion (US$57.88-63.85 million) per year.
The study also showed that the blue-naped parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis) is estimated to have an economic use value of P186,000 (US$3,700) throughout its six-year lifetime. This sum was tallied from its trade value and tourism value (P5,000/blue-naped parrot when combined) and its ecological role in forest ecosystems (P181,000/blue-naped parrot).
The entire Philippine parrot population was estimated at 8,500 individuals, according to wildlife conservation group Katala Foundation. Its annual use value ranged between P36.23 million and P295.19 million (US$724,500-5.90 million) per year.
To complement the study findings, a “willingness to pay survey” was conducted in Cebu and Manila as a way to estimate the non-use value of marine turtles and blue-naped parrots. The survey bared an annual value of P9.30 billion for the Philippine marine turtle population and P33.38 billion for the local blue-naped parrot population.
This is in stark contrast to the traded value of one blue-naped parrot, which is only P5,000 (estimated at US$100). The buying price per blue-naped parrot in Barangay Buliluyan, Bataraza town in Palawan, is even lower at only P200 (US$ 4.1), the study pointed out.
“This just shows that when protecting the wildlife, we get more value in the long run,” Cimatu said.
Environmental economist and study leader Dr. Agustin Arcenas said “the economic valuation of resources is vital in monitoring whether steps to protect these resources are effective, as well as evaluating the efficiency of projects and programs geared toward managing the resources, especially in situations where no other feasible metric currently exists.”
The economic valuation study and willingness to pay survey were both carried out under the DENR-Asian Development Bank (ADB)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Project on Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines.