A value must be put on biodiversity, according to Paddy Woodworth, organiser of a conference to be held next week on biodiversity in Dublin.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny show this morning, he said putting a value on our natural resources is blindingly obvious as coal, diamonds and timber have values. “We are committed to putting a value on biodiversity under EU legislation, and the full value of a forest – includes timber, air purifiying and it saves us money on flooding. Then there are other values such as beauty, recreation etc when we cut down a wood land we don’t just lose the renewable timber value, we loose the other values.”

However, putting a value on nature is difficult, he admitted. “How do you put a value on the ring of kerry. its’ very difficult. you can say nature is priceless, but if we stop there we may not value it at all. Instead, if we said value, not price, we capture it a bit better.” He said the bumblee bee is worth €3-4 million to rape seed oil farmers in Ireland.

GDP and GNP can incorporate these values, he said, but the losses are only noticed by a relatively small few people. “This is not going to be an exact science.” Bogs, he said, must be valued not just with the output economically, but the biodiversity needs to be valued too. “Bogs store more carbon than they emit, the value of a bog rises as the global warming problem gets worse as it becomes more important for us to have carbon sinks.”

He also said that current research shows that we are closer than you might think to putting values on biodiversity. According to Paddy, registration is still open for the conference and can be done online.