A new conservation model that measures the value of ecosystem services benefiting humans ranging from flood control to crop pollination can foster more win-win solutions between wilderness advocates and landowners, according to University of British Columbia researcher Kai Chan.
"Efforts to save wildlife often play out within a win-lose framework that pits conservation against economic opportunity," says Asst. Prof. Chan, who came from Stanford University to teach at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. "But this framework overlooks the fact that ecosystems also provide great benefits to people, in the form of ecosystem services."
[Chan's study will be featured at the Oct. 31 launch of The Natural Capital Project in Washington, D.C. See details at end of release].
Chan is the lead investigator and only Canadian author of Conservation Planning for Ecosystem Services. The study quantified six ecosystem services: carbon storage; flood control; forage (grazing) production; outdoor recreation; crop pollination; and water provision in the California Central Coast an ecoregion that stretches from Santa Barbara to north of San Francisco.
"My research analyzes the value of ecosystem services and looks at the overlap between conserving these services and protecting biodiversity priorities," explains Chan. "This will help maximize the impact of scarce conservation dollars, allowing diverse partners to build common ground."
Chan's co-authors include Rebecca Shaw, Director of Conservation, Science and Planning at the Nature Conservancy in California, and Gretchen Daily, a professor at Stanford University's Department of Biological Sciences. The study will be published Oct. 31 in the Public Library of Science Biology journal and can be found at: http://www.plos.org/press/plbi-04-11-chan.pdf