Most conservation planning exercises up till now assume that land is either protected or unprotected and that the unprotected portion does not contribute to conservation goals. Of course, that’s not true as the unprotected land usually has some conservation value. The analysis presented in this study develops and applies a new planning approach that explicitly accounts for the contribution of a diverse range of land uses to achieving conservation goals. Using East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) as a case study, the investigators prioritize investments in alternative conservation strategies and account for the relative contribution of land uses ranging from production forest to well-managed protected areas.
The researchers use data on the distribution of mammals and assign species-specific conservation targets to achieve equitable protection by accounting for life history characteristics and home range sizes. The relative sensitivity of each species to forest degradation determines the contribution of each land use to achieving targets. They compare the cost effectiveness of their approach to a plan that considers only the contribution of protected areas to biodiversity conservation, and to a plan that assumes that the cost of conservation is represented by only the opportunity costs of conservation to the timber industry.
Their results demonstrate that by accounting for the contribution of unprotected land, we can obtain more refined estimates of the costs of conservation. Using traditional planning approaches would overestimate the cost of achieving the conservation targets by an order of magnitude. Their approach reveals not only where to invest, but which strategies to invest in, in order to effectively and efficiently conserve biodiversity.
More info: Kerrie Wilson email@example.com
Wilson KA, E Meijaard, S Drummond, HS Grantham, L Boitani, G Catullo, L Christie, R Dennis, I Dutton, A Falcucci, L Mairoano, HP Possingham, C Rondinni, WR Turner, O Venter & M Watts (2010). Conserving biodiversity in production landscapes. Ecological Applications 20: 1721–1732.