Mapping the Economic Costs and Benefits of ConservationBy Robin Naidoo, Taylor H. Ricketts View Publication
Resources for biodiversity conservation are severely limited, requiring strategic investment. Understanding both the economic benefits and costs of conserving ecosystems will help to allocate scarce dollars most efficiently. However, although cost-benefit analyses are common in many areas of policy, they are not typically used in conservation planning. We conducted a spatial evaluation of the costs and benefits of conservation for a landscape in the Atlantic forests of Paraguay. We considered five ecosystem services (i.e., sustainable bushmeat harvest, sustainable timber harvest, bioprospecting for pharmaceutical products, existence value, and carbon storage in aboveground biomass) and compared them to estimates of the opportunity costs of conservation. We found a high degree of spatial variability in both costs and benefits over this relatively small (;3,000 km2) landscape.