Spatial prioritization could help target conservation actions directed to maintain both biodiversity and ecosystem services. We delineate hotspots and coldspots of two biodiversity conservation features and five regulating and cultural services by incorporating an indicator of 'threat', i.e. timber harvest profitability for forest areas in Telemark (Norway). We found hotspots, where high values of biodiversity, ecosystem services and threat coincide, ranging from 0.1 to 7.1% of the area, depending on varying threshold levels. Targeting of these areas for conservation follows reactive conservation approaches. In coldspots, high biodiversity and ecosystem service values coincide with low levels of threat, and cover 0.1-3.4% of the forest area. These areas might serve proactive conservation approaches at lower opportunity cost (foregone timber harvest profits). We conclude that a combination of indicators of biodiversity, ecosystem services and potential threat is an appropriate approach for spatial prioritization of proactive and reactive conservation strategies.
In order to safeguard biodiversity in forest we need to know how forest policy instruments work. Here we use a nationwide network of 9400 plots in productive forest to analyze to what extent large-scale policy instruments, individually and together, target forest of high conservation value in Norway. We studied both instruments working through direct regulation; Strict Protection and Landscape Protection, and instruments working through management planning and voluntary schemes of forest certification; Wilderness Area and Mountain Forest. As forest of high conservation value (HCV-forest) we considered the extent of 12 Biodiversity Habitats and the extent of Old-Age Forest. We found that 22% of productive forest area contained Biodiversity Habitats. More than 70% of this area was not covered by any large-scale instruments. Mountain Forest covered 23%, while Strict Protection and Wilderness both covered 5% of the Biodiversity Habitat area. A total of 9% of productive forest area contained Old-Age Forest, and the relative coverage of the four instruments was similar as for Biodiversity Habitats. For all instruments, except Landscape Protection, the targeted areas contained significantly higher proportions of HCV-forest than areas not targeted by these instruments. Areas targeted by Strict Protection had higher proportions of HCV-forest than areas targeted by other instruments, except for areas targeted by Wilderness Area which showed similar proportions of Biodiversity Habitats. There was a substantial amount of spatial overlap between the policy tools, but no incremental conservation effect of overlapping instruments in terms of contributing to higher percentages of targeted HCV-forest. Our results reveal that although the current policy mix has an above average representation of forest of high conservation value, the targeting efficiency in terms of area overlap is limited. There is a need to improve forest conservation and a potential to cover this need by better targeting high conservation value areas.
Inclusion of spatially explicit information on ecosystem services in conservation planning is a fairly new practice. This study analyses how the incorporation of ecosystem services as conservation features can affect conservation of forest biodiversity and how different opportunity cost constraints can change spatial priorities for conservation. We created spatially explicit cost-effective conservation scenarios for 59 forest biodiversity features and five ecosystem services in the county of Telemark (Norway) with the help of the heuristic optimisation planning software, Marxan with Zones. We combined a mix of conservation instruments where forestry is either completely (non-use zone) or partially restricted (partial use zone). Opportunity costs were measured in terms of foregone timber harvest, an important provisioning service in Telemark. Including a number of ecosystem services shifted priority conservation sites compared to a case where only biodiversity was considered, and increased the area of both the partial (+36.2%) and the non-use zone (+3.2%). Furthermore, opportunity costs increased (+6.6%), which suggests that ecosystem services may not be a side-benefit of biodiversity conservation in this area. Opportunity cost levels were systematically changed to analyse their effect on spatial conservation priorities. Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services trades off against timber harvest. Currently designated nature reserves and landscape protection areas achieve a very low proportion (9.1%) of the conservation targets we set in our scenario, which illustrates the high importance given to timber production at present. A trade-off curve indicated that large marginal increases in conservation target achievement are possible when the budget for conservation is increased. Forty percent of the maximum hypothetical opportunity costs would yield an average conservation target achievement of 79%.
Cites: Nature. 2000 May 11;405(6783):243-5310821285