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Conserv Biol. 2007 Dec;21(6):1475-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00829.x.

Designing cost-effective payments for conservation measures to generate spatiotemporal habitat heterogeneity.

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Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Department of Ecological Modelling, Permoserstr, 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany.


Many endangered species depend on certain types of agricultural or other forms of human land use. To conserve such species, schemes are set up in which land users receive payments for voluntarily managing their land in a biodiversity-enhancing manner. We developed a model-based framework for designing cost-effective payment schemes that generate spatiotemporal habitat heterogeneity to maximize the survival of multiple species under budget constraints. The framework integrates ecological and economic knowledge and consists of the derivation of an ecological benefit function and a budget function that are then combined to determine the cost-effective degree of spatiotemporal habitat heterogeneity. The ecological benefit function considers the timing of conservation measures, the induced habitat dynamics, and different degrees of substitutability among species. The budget function considers that the conservation agency may lack information about land users' individual conservation costs and personal attitudes and that land users can choose among different conservation measures. We applied the framework to a case study of grassland management, where the survival of three endangered species protected by the EU Habitats Directive depends on different types of land use. The lack of information available to the agency and the choice options of land users reduced the amount of conservation that can be financed with a given budget. Neglecting such findings may lead to an overestimation of the benefits of conservation programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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