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“TREEB” stands for The Real Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

What are the real basic causes of biodiversity loss and ecosystem decline? This question is asked and answered surprisingly rarely, and when it is, the most frequently proposed answers just scratch the surface of what is at stake.

Why “real”? Because there is already in existence a body of analysis known as “TEEB” (The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity) - but in Anderson's view it does not deal with the key issues, and in some respects it even obfuscates them.

In this pamphlet Anderson sets out an alternative view, rejecting both the two currently most prominent viewpoints on biodiversity loss and ecosystem deterioration. One view, represented by TEEB, focuses on the monetary valuation of so-called “natural capital”. The natural world is viewed as consisting of “pieces” of “capital”, and for each of these a monetary value can be calculated. Doing this will, it is hoped, prove that the destruction of the natural world is costly and wrong. There are many problems with this approach, and this gas outlines some later on - though this is not my main focus here. Crucially, that approach says nothing about the real economic drivers of biodiversity loss. Its analysis does not help to identify what these are.

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