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Opportunity costs: who really pays for conservation?


Adams, VM and Pressey, RL and Naidoo, R, Opportunity costs: who really pays for conservation?, Biological Conservation, 143 pp. 439-448. ISSN 0006-3207 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.11.011


Designing conservation areas entails costs that, if considered explicitly, can be minimized while still achieving conservation targets. Here we focus on opportunity costs which measure forgone benefits from alternative land uses. Conservation planning studies often use partial estimates of costs, but the extent to which these result in actual efficiencies has not been demonstrated. Our study partitions land costs into three distinct opportunity costs to smallholder agriculture, soybean agriculture and ranching. We demonstrate that opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups can be inaccurate measures of true opportunity costs and can inadvertently shift conservation costs to affect groups of stakeholders disproportionately. Additionally, we examine how spatial correlations between costs as well as target size affect the performance of opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups as surrogate measures of true opportunity costs. We conclude that planning with opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups can result in cost burdens to other groups that could undermine the long-term success of conservation. Thus, an understanding of the spatial distributions of opportunity costs that are disaggregated to groups of stakeholders is necessary to make informed decisions about priority conservation areas.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:opportunity costs, conservation planning, reserve-selection, trade-offs, agricultural conversion, developing country
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Associate Professor Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:126449
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:115
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2018-06-12
Last Modified:2018-07-25

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