Does nature conservation enhance ecosystem services delivery?

Eastwood, A.; Brooker, R.; Irvine, R.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Norton, L.R.; Bullock, J.M.; Ross, L.; Fielding, D.; Ramsay, S.; Roberts, J.; Anderson, W.; Dugan, D.; Cooksley, S.; Pakeman, R.J.. 2016 Does nature conservation enhance ecosystem services delivery? Ecosystem Services, 17. 152-162.

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Whilst a number of studies have examined the effects of biodiversity conservation on the delivery of ecosystems, they have been often limited by the scope of the ecosystem services (ES) assessed and often suffer from confounding spatial issues. This paper examines the impacts of nature conservation (designation) on the delivery of a full suite of ES across nine case-studies in the UK, using expert opinion. The case-studies covered a range of habitats and explore the delivery of ES from a ‘protected site’ and a comparable ‘non-protected’ site. By conducting pair-wise comparisons between comparable sites our study is one of the first to attempt to mitigate confounding cause and effect factors in relation to spatial context in correlative studies. Protected sites delivered higher levels of ecosystem services than nonprotected sites, with the main differences being in the cultural and regulating ecosystem services. Against expectations, there was no consistent negative impact of protection on provisioning services across the case-studies. Whilst the analysis demonstrated general patterns and differences in ecosystem delivery between protected and non-protected sites, the individual responses in each case-study highlights the importance of the social, biophysical, economic and temporal context of individual protected areas and the associated management.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 2212-0416
Additional Keywords: biodiversity conservation, conservation designation, ecosystem services, expert opinion, protected areas
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 Jan 2016 14:52 +0 (UTC)

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