Environmentalist Marcus Cianciaruso from the Federal University of Goias, Brazil, called the new study “overwhelming”. “The production of guano is a service that sea birds have given us for free. I can go to the island to collect guano and sell it at the market price as fertilizer”.
With the help of his new work, Cianciaruso and his team wanted to raise people’s awareness about how important seabirds and their habitat, putting the cost of waste these birds. The researchers calculated that the excrement of sea birds are more than 473-million dollars a year, and this amount may be more. Scientists say that the valuation of ecosystem services of birds in monetary terms is more comprehensible and should draw attention to the problems faced by animals.
In their study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, scientists say that the feces of seabirds are something of a device for the flow of nutrients between marine and terrestrial habitats.
The authors of the new work, explained: “They [birds] are the high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus through their feces. The results of our evaluation, 10% of fish stocks of coral reefs depend on the nutrients from the faeces of sea birds. And according to the United Nations and the Australian government, the annual economic value of commercial fishing on coral reefs is more than $ 6 billion. Thus, 10% of this cost is about $ 600 million a year.” Combined with an estimated amount of guano for fertilizer (474 million dollars), the cost of the excrement of sea birds increases to $ 1 billion.
The researchers note that the decline in the population of birds hi to economic losses. For example, the penguins pay half of the contribution to “the production of faeces”. However, 60% of these animals are species with decreasing population. The researchers hope that pioneering work will shed light on how valuable these types on a global scale. Climate change and habitat loss can destroy many of them.