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Why Birds Matter

Why Birds Matter

Bird Ecosystem Services Promote Biodiversity and Support Human Well-Being

(p.341) Chapter Twelve Why Birds Matter
Why Birds Matter
Çağan H. ŞekercioğluDaniel G. WennyChristopher J. WhelanChris Floyd
University of Chicago Press

Birds are important components of the world’s many ecosystems, and they contribute cultural, provisioning, supporting, and regulating ecosystem services. The lives of birds and humans have been intertwined for many thousands of years. Birds inspire, entertain, feed, and clothe humans. Throughout the evolution of modern humans and the cultural development of our societies, birds clearly matter. Cultural and provisioning services accrue directly – these services are themselves products. Bird art and bird eggs, for instance, are commodities --they may be bought and sold (or bartered). Regulating and supporting services, in contrast, accrue indirectly – not themselves commodities, they instead they help maintain other components of the world’s ecosystems upon which humans depend for both goods (food, shelter) and services (disease management; pest control). These indirect services facilitate other ecosystem services, and therefore promote biodiversity. To maintain the many ecosystem services provided by birds, we need to conserve them. The financial costs of conservation appear great, perhaps even insurmountable. Nonetheless, the capital to fund conservation exists. It is up to those of us who value birds, and the rest of nature, to urge governments and citizens of the world to find the will.

Keywords:   conservation, direct ecosystem services, excise tax, indirect ecosystem services, Pittman-Robertson act

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