Maximizing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Benefits in Conservation Decision-Making

Authored by: Hedley S. Grantham , Rosimeiry Portela , Mahbubul Alam , Daniel Juhn , Lawrence Connell

Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138025080
eBook ISBN: 9781315775302
Adobe ISBN:


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Despite important conservation efforts over the last few decades, such as a growth of protected areas globally (Watson et al., 2014), biodiversity has been subject to an unprecedented decline, with an estimated 39 percent decline of terrestrial and marine species, and 76 percent of freshwater species, from 1970 to 2008 (WWF, 2014). Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation continue to be the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and these remain largely unabated (CBD, 2011). Traditionally, this conservation problem has been framed as trying to reduce the loss of biodiversity as much as possible (Myers et al., 2000; Mace, 2014). The solution to this problem has predominantly been through site-based nature protection strategies (particularly protected areas), designed in a way that aims to cost-effectively reduce threats and maximize biodiversity persistence (Wilson et al., 2009). Principally, conserving biodiversity has been justified based on its intrinsic value (Mace, 2014), but with the recognition that biodiversity loss might mean a loss of potential option value for people in the future (e.g. new medicines, resilience to climate change) (Callicott, 2006).

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