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Effects of disputes and easement violations on the cost-effectiveness of land conservation.

Schuster R, Arcese P - PeerJ (2015)

Bottom Line: We explored the cost-effectiveness of conservation easements, defined here as the fraction of the high-biodiversity landscape potentially protected via investment in easements versus land purchase.We show that easement violation and dispute rates substantially affect the estimated long-term cost-effectiveness of an easement versus land purchase strategy.Our results suggest that conservation easements can outperform land purchase as a strategy to protect biodiversity as long as the rate of disputes and legal challenges is low, pointing to a critical need for monitoring data to reduce costs and maximize the value of conservation investments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia , Vancouver British Columbia , Canada.

ABSTRACT
Conservation initiatives to protect and restore valued species communities in human-dominated landscapes face challenges linked to their potential costs. Conservation easements on private land may represent a cost-effective alternative to land purchase, but long-term costs to monitor and enforce easements, or defend legal challenges, remain uncertain. We explored the cost-effectiveness of conservation easements, defined here as the fraction of the high-biodiversity landscape potentially protected via investment in easements versus land purchase. We show that easement violation and dispute rates substantially affect the estimated long-term cost-effectiveness of an easement versus land purchase strategy. Our results suggest that conservation easements can outperform land purchase as a strategy to protect biodiversity as long as the rate of disputes and legal challenges is low, pointing to a critical need for monitoring data to reduce costs and maximize the value of conservation investments.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Cost and biodiversity loss comparisons.(A) Conservation network cost comparison between land acquisition and conservation easements of varying dispute rates. (B) Biodiversity loss of varying easement dispute rates in conservation networks and an initial 20% protection level of current biodiversity in the CDF ecological zone. Solid lines represent mean values for each approach, and the corresponding ribbons show minimum and maximum values for the 100 Marxan solutions.
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fig-1: Cost and biodiversity loss comparisons.(A) Conservation network cost comparison between land acquisition and conservation easements of varying dispute rates. (B) Biodiversity loss of varying easement dispute rates in conservation networks and an initial 20% protection level of current biodiversity in the CDF ecological zone. Solid lines represent mean values for each approach, and the corresponding ribbons show minimum and maximum values for the 100 Marxan solutions.

Mentions: Given a goal of protecting 20% of the high-biodiversity landscape, land purchase scenarios protected a mean of 370 km2 (range = 365–374 km2) at a mean cost of $457M (range = $441–470M) (Fig. 1A). In comparison, the cost of an equivalent area under conservation easements averaged $43.9M in year 1 (range = $42.6–45.0M) and $162M cumulatively to year 100 (range = $157–166M; Fig. 1A), representing a 65% reduction in cost compared to land purchase. Including dispute rates of 0.028 and 0.28% increased long term costs in easement scenarios by 0.5 and 11%, respectively (Fig. 1A). However, with 2.8% of easements experiencing disputes annually, network cost increased up to 219% (mean = $355M, range = $339–382M), but this was still below the cost of land purchase (Fig. 1A). Table 2 summarizes our overall results.


Effects of disputes and easement violations on the cost-effectiveness of land conservation.

Schuster R, Arcese P - PeerJ (2015)

Cost and biodiversity loss comparisons.(A) Conservation network cost comparison between land acquisition and conservation easements of varying dispute rates. (B) Biodiversity loss of varying easement dispute rates in conservation networks and an initial 20% protection level of current biodiversity in the CDF ecological zone. Solid lines represent mean values for each approach, and the corresponding ribbons show minimum and maximum values for the 100 Marxan solutions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4581774&req=5

fig-1: Cost and biodiversity loss comparisons.(A) Conservation network cost comparison between land acquisition and conservation easements of varying dispute rates. (B) Biodiversity loss of varying easement dispute rates in conservation networks and an initial 20% protection level of current biodiversity in the CDF ecological zone. Solid lines represent mean values for each approach, and the corresponding ribbons show minimum and maximum values for the 100 Marxan solutions.
Mentions: Given a goal of protecting 20% of the high-biodiversity landscape, land purchase scenarios protected a mean of 370 km2 (range = 365–374 km2) at a mean cost of $457M (range = $441–470M) (Fig. 1A). In comparison, the cost of an equivalent area under conservation easements averaged $43.9M in year 1 (range = $42.6–45.0M) and $162M cumulatively to year 100 (range = $157–166M; Fig. 1A), representing a 65% reduction in cost compared to land purchase. Including dispute rates of 0.028 and 0.28% increased long term costs in easement scenarios by 0.5 and 11%, respectively (Fig. 1A). However, with 2.8% of easements experiencing disputes annually, network cost increased up to 219% (mean = $355M, range = $339–382M), but this was still below the cost of land purchase (Fig. 1A). Table 2 summarizes our overall results.

Bottom Line: We explored the cost-effectiveness of conservation easements, defined here as the fraction of the high-biodiversity landscape potentially protected via investment in easements versus land purchase.We show that easement violation and dispute rates substantially affect the estimated long-term cost-effectiveness of an easement versus land purchase strategy.Our results suggest that conservation easements can outperform land purchase as a strategy to protect biodiversity as long as the rate of disputes and legal challenges is low, pointing to a critical need for monitoring data to reduce costs and maximize the value of conservation investments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia , Vancouver British Columbia , Canada.

ABSTRACT
Conservation initiatives to protect and restore valued species communities in human-dominated landscapes face challenges linked to their potential costs. Conservation easements on private land may represent a cost-effective alternative to land purchase, but long-term costs to monitor and enforce easements, or defend legal challenges, remain uncertain. We explored the cost-effectiveness of conservation easements, defined here as the fraction of the high-biodiversity landscape potentially protected via investment in easements versus land purchase. We show that easement violation and dispute rates substantially affect the estimated long-term cost-effectiveness of an easement versus land purchase strategy. Our results suggest that conservation easements can outperform land purchase as a strategy to protect biodiversity as long as the rate of disputes and legal challenges is low, pointing to a critical need for monitoring data to reduce costs and maximize the value of conservation investments.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus