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The economic consequences of conserving or restoring sites for nature

The economic consequences of conserving or restoring sites for nature
The economic consequences of conserving or restoring sites for nature
Nature provides many benefits for people, yet there are few data on how changes at individual sites impact the net value of ecosystem service provision. A 2002 review found only five analyses comparing the net economic benefits of conserving nature versus pursuing an alternative, more intensive human use. Here we revisit this crucial comparison, synthesizing recent data from 62 sites worldwide. In 24 cases with economic estimates of services, conservation or restoration benefits (for example, greenhouse gas regulation, flood protection) tend to outweigh those private benefits (for example, profits from agriculture or logging) driving change to the alternative state. Net benefits rise rapidly with increasing social cost of carbon. Qualitative data from all 62 sites suggest that monetization of additional services would further increase the difference. Although conservation and restoration did not universally provide greater net value than the alternative state, across a large, geographically and contextually diverse sample, our findings indicate that at current levels of habitat conversion, conserving and restoring sites typically benefits human prosperity.
2398-9629
602-608
Butchart, Stuart H.M.
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Fisher, Brendan
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Hughes, Francine M.R.
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Ingwall-King, Lisa
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MacDonald, Michael A.
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Merriman, Jennifer C.
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Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
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Pellier, Anne-Sophie
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Thomas, David H.L.
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Trevelyan, Rosie
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Balmford, Andrew
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Richard B. Bradbury
Butchart, Stuart H.M.
a51fed0f-8e2b-481d-aa89-48f8699f4b6f
Fisher, Brendan
d4a328eb-e8c7-4160-96a5-61c66e2f6cef
Hughes, Francine M.R.
6ca71972-6250-468c-a0c1-fb904b2cef43
Ingwall-King, Lisa
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MacDonald, Michael A.
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Merriman, Jennifer C.
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Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Pellier, Anne-Sophie
235ad460-e39a-4c68-9132-cf6730c4fc7a
Thomas, David H.L.
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Trevelyan, Rosie
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Balmford, Andrew
b66d76a7-4e7d-435b-a1b8-2d61883c8166

Butchart, Stuart H.M., Fisher, Brendan, Hughes, Francine M.R., Ingwall-King, Lisa, MacDonald, Michael A., Merriman, Jennifer C., Peh, Kelvin S.-H., Pellier, Anne-Sophie, Thomas, David H.L., Trevelyan, Rosie and Balmford, Andrew , Richard B. Bradbury (2021) The economic consequences of conserving or restoring sites for nature. Nature Sustainability, 4 (7), 602-608. (doi:10.1038/s41893-021-00692-9).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Nature provides many benefits for people, yet there are few data on how changes at individual sites impact the net value of ecosystem service provision. A 2002 review found only five analyses comparing the net economic benefits of conserving nature versus pursuing an alternative, more intensive human use. Here we revisit this crucial comparison, synthesizing recent data from 62 sites worldwide. In 24 cases with economic estimates of services, conservation or restoration benefits (for example, greenhouse gas regulation, flood protection) tend to outweigh those private benefits (for example, profits from agriculture or logging) driving change to the alternative state. Net benefits rise rapidly with increasing social cost of carbon. Qualitative data from all 62 sites suggest that monetization of additional services would further increase the difference. Although conservation and restoration did not universally provide greater net value than the alternative state, across a large, geographically and contextually diverse sample, our findings indicate that at current levels of habitat conversion, conserving and restoring sites typically benefits human prosperity.

Text
Bradbury et al 2021 Nature Sustainability - accepted version
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More information

Submitted date: 7 November 2020
Accepted/In Press date: 11 February 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 March 2021
Published date: 8 March 2021
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited part of Springer Nature. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447845
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447845
ISSN: 2398-9629
PURE UUID: ce7b9cbe-e3a5-4120-97e4-1a94f7f19cc5
ORCID for Kelvin S.-H. Peh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2921-1341

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Mar 2021 18:28
Last modified: 17 Aug 2021 01:45

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Contributors

Author: Stuart H.M. Butchart
Author: Brendan Fisher
Author: Francine M.R. Hughes
Author: Lisa Ingwall-King
Author: Michael A. MacDonald
Author: Jennifer C. Merriman
Author: Anne-Sophie Pellier
Author: David H.L. Thomas
Author: Rosie Trevelyan
Author: Andrew Balmford
Corporate Author: Richard B. Bradbury

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