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Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services

Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services

Why Ecosystems Matter for Development?

Learn about the unique natural habitats that exist in Latin America and the Caribbean and how these contribute to our economic growth, productivity, and development.


Why Ecosystems Matter for Development?

Latin America and the Caribbean possess complex and varied terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems that are home to a vast array of birds, mammals, plants, and amphibians. Some of the region’s richest ecosystems are:

  • the Amazon,
  • the Pantanal,
  • the Chaco,
  • the Cerrado,
  • the Tropical Andes,
  • the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef,
  • the Guiana Shield,
  • and the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem.

This wealth of biodiversity and ecosystems generate important life-supporting benefits for people including: food, shelter, clean water and air, flood mitigation, disease and pest control, breathtaking landscapes, and sacred places. These benefits, also known as ecosystem services, directly support sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism, which together account for:

  • 15% of the region’s gross domestic product
  • 17% of its labor force
  • 50% of total exports

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