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UBC Theses and Dissertations

What a difference a map makes : including ecosystem services within systematic conservation planning Hoshizaki, Lara


Over the past decade, conservationists have increasingly employed the concept of ecosystem services to garner support for biodiversity conservation. However, recent research has found incongruence between bio-diverse areas and areas that provide large amounts of ecosystem services. In this thesis, I investigated the spatial relationship between lands that provide ecosystem services and lands that would be prioritized for biodiversity conservation in the context of a systematic conservation planning exercise. First, I mapped economic values for carbon storage, timber production, and recreational angling using a geographical information system (GIS). These values represented the difference in the provision of services based on whether the land is conserved or subject to timber harvesting, which is the prevailing land use in the area. I integrated these values into the site-selection software Marxan using two approaches: a ‘feature’ approach and a novel ‘benefit-cost’ approach. The first approach treated ecosystem services as conservation features with targets for protection. The second approach is the incorporation of potential service values into the cost function of Marxan. I then compared the efficiency of the ‘feature’ (1) and ‘benefit-cost’ (2) approaches and found that the latter enabled Marxan to select a conservation reserve network that meets all biodiversity targets at a lower cost. I also reviewed the use of ecosystem service values within traditional cost-benefit analyses in a net benefit maximization framework and compare this with their more recent use in systematic conservation planning. With the help of concrete examples, I present a theoretical framework for the integration of ecosystem services into systematic conservation planning using the ‘feature’ and ‘benefit-cost’ approaches. I argue that before ecosystem services are integrated into conservation planning, researchers should consider particular characteristics of the services in relation to the site and purpose of the planning exercise. Conservation areas offer the opportunity to provide a haven for biodiversity, as well as essential ecosystem services for people. To ensure that they do both effectively, we must reconsider our approach to achieving these disparate goals.

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