David Suzuki Foundation reports the Ontario Greenbelt contributes $2.6 billion to local economy



    TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - A new report released by the David Suzuki
Foundation with support from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today has
found that Ontario's Greenbelt contributes $2.6 billion worth of non-market
ecological services to the province each year, an average value of $3,487 per
hectare.
    "This is an incredible figure," said Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the
David Suzuki Foundation. "It's a good reminder to decision-makers that if we
don't protect our greenspaces, we'll end up paying a higher price in the
future, not just with our health and the planet's health, but economically as
well. Ontario's Greenbelt is a world-leading example of how to grow our
communities in a balanced way."
    The report, Ontario's Wealth, Canada's Future: Appreciating the Value of
the Greenbelt's Eco-Services, quantifies the value of the ecosystem services
such as water filtration, flood control, climate stabilization (i.e. carbon
storage), waste treatment, wildlife habitat, and clean air.
    "This report celebrates the Ontario government's foresight to protect the
Greenbelt and inspires us to embrace its growth," said Burkhard Mausberg,
President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "The Greenbelt
distinguishes Ontario, and Canada, as an environmental innovator."
    "It's less expensive to preserve the natural environment and the benefits
it provide us, than to replace it with a man-made infrastructure. The highest
economic value the environment affords us is when it is left undisturbed,"
said report author Sara Wilson of Natural Capital Research & Consulting.
    Covering more than 1.8 million acres, the Greenbelt was established to
safeguard key environmentally sensitive land, watersheds, and farmlands that
provide essential ecosystem services and quality of life for this densely
populated area of Canada. This protected region includes green space,
farmland, communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, including habitat
for more than one-third of Ontario's species at risk.
    Ontario's Wealth, Canada's Future can be downloaded from
www.davidsuzuki.org/publications and www.ourgreenbelt.ca.

    The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a not-for-profit organization
created to help foster our Greenbelt's living countryside by nurturing and
supporting activities that preserve its environmental and agricultural
integrity.

    The David Suzuki Foundation uses science and education to promote
solutions that conserve nature and help achieve sustainability within a
generation.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Sara Wilson, Principal, Natural
Capital Research & Consulting, Cell: (604) 865-1911, sarajwilson@dccnet.com;
Burkhard Mausberg, President, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Tel: (416)
960-0001 ext. 300, bmausberg@ourgreenbelt.ca; Rachel Plotkin, Biodiversity
Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation, Cell: (613) 796-7999,
rplotkin@davidsuzuki.org

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