May 20, 2012

New World Bank Data Book Helps Countries Value Natural Assets

The latest edition of The World Bank's The Little Green Data Book provides comprehensive data on countries’ natural capital. This includes agricultural land, forests, protected areas, water resources and for the first time oceans.

The book contains data on more than 200 countries. This information could help policymakers, communities and other stakeholders weigh the value of natural resources and their role in development.

Key findings:

  • Overfishing: 85 percent of the world’s ocean fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted, causing annual global efficiency losses of $50 billion.
  • Pollution: excess nitrogen runoff from fertilizers has resulted in large ‘dead zones’ in the ocean, covering some 250,000 km2, an area the size of Great Britain.
  • Habitat loss or conversion: an estimated 35 percent of global mangrove area has been lost or converted, approximately 20 percent of the planet’s coral reefs have been destroyed in the last few decades, with more than a further 20 percent being degraded, and 30 percent of sea grass beds have been destroyed.
Read complete Little Green Data Book >>

Source: The World Bank

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