Accounting for ecosystem services in compensating for the costs of effective conservation in protected areas

Author(s):

Xiaodong Chen, Frank Lupi and Jianguo Liu

Journal or Book Title: Biological Conservation

Keywords: Forest management; Fuelwood; Human livelihoods; Payments for ecosystem services; Willingness to pay; Wolong Nature Reserve

Volume/Issue: 215

Page Number(s): 233-240

Year Published: 2017

Abstract:

Protected areas are a major approach for conserving ecosystem services globally. Effective conservation in protected areas must integrate human livelihoods into the design and management of conservation. Although ecosystem services can contribute to reducing local people's costs of conservation, exploitation of ecosystem services often results in ecosystem degradation. One important ecosystem service is fuelwood, which is used by> 2.5 billion people worldwide. Conservation policy design needs information on the demand for and values of fuelwood that can be extracted without compromising conservation goals of protected areas. We estimated local people's willingness to pay (WTP) for access to fuelwood in China's Wolong Nature Reserve, which is undergoing a net increase in forest area. Forest recovery in Wolong resulted from both the protection of the reserve and conservation under China's Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP). The estimated mean WTP for access to fuelwood accounted for about 21% of the payment under the NFCP. Among household characteristics, the cultural practice of cooking pig fodder, for which there were poor substitutes, played a major role in driving the demand for fuelwood. Although fuelwood collection can be prevented through increased conservation payments, fuelwood collection under forest management that fulfills conservation goals of the reserve can substantially reduce the costs of conservation. In addition, many other ecosystem services are also important to local people's livelihoods, and the combined values of different ecosystem services can substantially lower the costs of effective conservation in Wolong and many other protected areas around the world.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.013

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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