Why Biodiversity Is Good For The Economy

Why Biodiversity Is Good For The Economy

Research suggests that more diverse ecosystems are better for the bottom line.

Thanks to the University of Minnesota for sponsoring this video!

Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Peter Reich
Script Editor: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

Peter’s Science paper:

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We try to leave jargon out of our videos, but if you want to learn more about this topic, here are some handy keywords to get your googling started:

Biodiversity – the variety of genes, species, and ecosystems
Conservation – ethical use and protection of valuable natural resources (e.g. trees, minerals, wildlife, water)
Ecosystem – a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment
Ecosystem services – benefits people obtain from ecosystems (four categories: supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural)
Richness – the number of species in an ecological community, landscape, or region
Pollinators – animals that help plants reproduce by moving pollen from male flowers to female flowers
Pollution – the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment (e.g. chemicals, particles, noise, heat, light)



Bartomeus, I., Park, M.G., Gibbs, J., Danforth, B.N., Lakso, A.N. and Winfree, R., 2013. Biodiversity ensures plant–pollinator phenological synchrony against climate change. Ecology Letters, 16(11), pp.1331-1338.

Dee LE, Miller SJ, Peavey LE, Bradley D, Gentry RR, Startz R, Gaines SD, Lester SE. 2016 Functional diversity of catch mitigates negative effects of temperature variability on fisheries yields. Proc. R. Soc. B 83: 20161435.

Delgado-Baquerizo, M., L. Giaramida, P. B. Reich, A. N. Khachane, K. Hamonts, C. Edwards, L. Lawton, B. K. Singh. 2016. Lack of functional redundancy in the relationship between microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning. Journal of Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12585

“FAO, “Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 – How are the world’s forests changing? ” (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, 2015)

FAO, “Contribution of the forestry sector to national economies, 1990-2011” (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 2014)

Garibaldi, Lucas A., et al. “”Mutually beneficial pollinator diversity and crop yield outcomes in small and large farms.”” Science 351.6271 (2016): 388-391.

Isbell, Forest, et al. “”Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes.”” Nature 526.7574 (2015): 574-577.”

Isbell, F., Tilman, D., Polasky, S., & Loreau, M. (2015). The biodiversity‐dependent ecosystem service debt. Ecology letters, 18(2), 119-134.

Liang J, T Crowther, GFBI, and PB Reich. 2016. Positive biodiversity–productivity relationship predominant in global forests. Science 14 Oct 2016: Vol. 354, Issue 6309, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8957.

Liang, J, M Zhou, PC Tobin, AD McGuire, PB Reich. 2015. Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche–efficiency. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112:5738–5743.

McCarthy, Donal P., et al. “Financial costs of meeting global biodiversity conservation targets: current spending and unmet needs.” Science 338.6109 (2012): 946-949.

Reich PB, D Tilman, F Isbell, K Mueller, S Hobbie, D Flynn, N Eisenhauer. 2012. Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate as redundancy fades. Science 336:589-592.

Tilman, D, PB Reich, J Knops, D Wedin, T Mielke, C Lehman. 2001. Diversity and productivity in a long-term grassland experiment. Science 294: 843-845.

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