TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ – A new report released by the David SuzukiFoundation with support from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today hasfound that Ontario’s Greenbelt contributes $2.6 billion worth of non-marketecological services to the province each year, an average value of $3,487 perhectare.”This is an incredible figure,” said Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of theDavid Suzuki Foundation. “It’s a good reminder to decision-makers that if wedon’t protect our greenspaces, we’ll end up paying a higher price in thefuture, not just with our health and the planet’s health, but economically aswell. Ontario’s Greenbelt is a world-leading example of how to grow ourcommunities in a balanced way.”The report, Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future: Appreciating the Value ofthe Greenbelt’s Eco-Services, quantifies the value of the ecosystem servicessuch as water filtration, flood control, climate stabilization (i.e. carbonstorage), waste treatment, wildlife habitat, and clean air.”This report celebrates the Ontario government’s foresight to protect theGreenbelt and inspires us to embrace its growth,” said Burkhard Mausberg,President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The Greenbeltdistinguishes Ontario, and Canada, as an environmental innovator.””It’s less expensive to preserve the natural environment and the benefitsit provide us, than to replace it with a man-made infrastructure. The highesteconomic 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 tosafeguard key environmentally sensitive land, watersheds, and farmlands thatprovide essential ecosystem services and quality of life for this denselypopulated area of Canada. This protected region includes green space,farmland, communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, including habitatfor more than one-third of Ontario’s species at risk.Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future can be downloaded fromwww.davidsuzuki.org/publications and www.ourgreenbelt.ca.The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a not-for-profit organizationcreated to help foster our Greenbelt’s living countryside by nurturing andsupporting activities that preserve its environmental and agriculturalintegrity.The David Suzuki Foundation uses science and education to promotesolutions that conserve nature and help achieve sustainability within ageneration.For further information: Media contact: Sara Wilson, Principal, NaturalCapital 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, BiodiversityPolicy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation, Cell: (613) 796-7999,rplotkin@davidsuzuki.org