Research in systematic conservation planning has focused heavily on biological considerations, even though a growing number of studies demonstrate that integrating economic costs into the planning process markedly increases the efficiency of resulting plans. At the global scale, the availability of biodiversity maps is increasing, but analogous maps for economic factors that affect biodiversity conservation are rare, and no study has examined global conservation planning at high resolution using both biodiversity and cost information. Here, we integrate spatial information on crop productivity, livestock density, and prices to produce a global map of the gross economic rents from agricultural lands. We then illustrate the importance of including such opportunity costs in global planning for the conservation of endemic vertebrate species. Plans that consider costs represent endemic species at 10–33% of the opportunity cost of plans that do not, and produce priority sets that diverge from existing schemes. Given scarce resources and the great cost-effectiveness of plans that consider both biodiversity and costs, mapping of the economic costs of conservation should receive similar levels of research attention as mapping of biodiversity.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2007
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