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Valuing Nature: Why Venezuela's Protected Areas Matter for Economic and Human Wellbeing

Lila Gil; Luis Pabon-Zamora

In collaboration with key partners, The Nature Conservancy has conducted a study which compiles information about how natural protected areas in Venezuela generate extremely valuable goods and services for the benefit of the economy and the population. Protected areas underpin the human and economic wellbeing of more than 28 million Venezuelans. There are more than 20 million hectares of forest land in protected areas available for climate mitigation, potentially storing carbon which would save global climate change damage costs of up to $28 billion. At the national level protected areas protect the source of 530 thousand liters of water a second, serving 83% of the population, saving municipalities and industries hundreds of millions of dollars on avoided siltation and sedimentation, and generating energy worth $12.5 billion a year. Protected areas with the most visitors generated between 30% to 50% of the local employment. More than 32 distinct indigenous peoples, with a population of 57,000 live in protected areas which contain traditional hunting and gathering areas, sacred sites and settlements.