Safeguarding biodiversity has been one of the most important issues in environmental and forest policies since the 1990s. In Southern Finland, decisions concerning further actions for the preservation of forest biodiversity will be made in the coming years. To support policy making, we present a multi-regional model that is applicable in determining the economically optimal regional allocation of conservation sites. Three habitat quality models are evaluated to calculate habitat quality indices used as a surrogate for a biodiversity value in a forest sector model. The scenarios presented provide information about the economic impacts of conservation choices on the forest sector. The overall economic impacts of conservation depend on its scale and regional allocation. Conserving land with high biodiversity value can have less adverse impact on the forest sector than conservation of typical commercial forest sites. When optimizing conservation set-asides, we found that set-asides targeted to certain regions possessing higher/lower than average relative share of ecologically valuable land, caused lower/higher adverse economic impacts on the forest sector. Because it is expensive to search land suitable for conservation, these regions could be respectively favoured/avoided when asking forest owners to offer their land for the new conservation program in Southern Finland, which will be based on voluntariness.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2008
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