Scientists conceptualize a kind of “stock market” to price actions that pose risks to biodiversity

Scientists conceptualize a kind of

A fungal example of a digital species with rich metadata for taxonomy, ecology, DNA data and collection sites. Credit: Dr. Kesi Abarenkov

So far, science has described more than 2 million species and millions more are waiting to be discovered. While species have value in their own right, many also provide important ecosystem services to humanity, such as the insects that pollinate our crops.

Meanwhile, because we lack a standardized system for quantifying the value of the various kinds, it is too easy to conclude that they are practically useless. As a result, humanity has been quick to justify actions that reduce populations and even threaten biodiversity as a whole.

In a study published in the scientific journal Open Science Research ideas and resultsA team of Estonian and Swedish scientists propose to formalize the value of all species through a conceptual form.Stock Exchange„(SSM). Like the ordinary stock market, SSM must act as a single basis for the immediate valuation of all positions in its assets.

However, other aspects of SSM would be very different from the regular stock market. Ownership, transactions and trade will take new forms. In fact, the species have no owners and “trade” would not involve the transfer of property rights between shareholders. Instead, the concept of “selling” would include processes that wipe out species from a specific area – such as war, deforestation or pollution.

“SSM will be able to label the price of such transactions and the price can be seen as an invoice that the seller has to arrange in some way that is beneficial global biodiversity“, Explains the lead author of the study, Prof. Urmas Kjalg (University of Tartu, Estonia).

Conversely, taking some action that benefits biodiversity – according to individuals of the species – would be similar to buying on the stock market of the species. Buying also has a price, but that price should probably be thought of as goodwill. Here, “money” is an investment to increase biodiversity.

“By rooting such actions in a single evaluation system, we hope that goodwill actions will become increasingly difficult to avoid and reject,” Kjalg added.

Interestingly, SSM revolves around the concept of digital species. These are representations of the described and undescribed species concluded that it exists on the basis of DNA sequences and was developed by incorporating everything we know about their habitat, ecology, distribution, interactions with other species and functional features.

For SSM to function as described, these DNA sequences and metadata must be obtained from global scientific and public resources, including natural history collections, sequence databases, and life science data portals. Digital species can be further managed by including records with data on individuals without sequence, in particular observations, older material in collections and data from publications.

The study proposes that the SSM be organized by international associations of taxonomists and economists.

“In practice, non-trivial complications are foreseen in the implementation of the SSM, but we argue that the most realistic and tangible way out of the looming biodiversity crisis is to set Etiquette on species and thus a price for actions that compromise them, ”says Kjalg.

“No human being will make a direct monetary profit from SSM, but still all the inhabitants of the Earth – including humans – could benefit from its guidance.

Newly described species have a higher risk of extinction

More info:
Urmas Kõ perg et al, Price mark for the species Research ideas and results (2022). DOI: 10.3897 / rio.8.e86741

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Quote: Scientists conceptualize species ‘stock market’ to determine the cost of actions that pose risks to biodiversity (2022, 20 June) extracted on 20 June 2022 from 06-scientists-species-stock -price label.html

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