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Science. 2014 Aug 29;345(6200):1041-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1255768.

Using ecological thresholds to evaluate the costs and benefits of set-asides in a biodiversity hotspot.

Author information

1
Grand Challenges in the Ecosystem and Environment, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK. Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090 São Paulo SP, Brazil. c.banks@imperial.ac.uk.
2
Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090 São Paulo SP, Brazil.
3
Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090 São Paulo SP, Brazil.
4
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
5
Fundação Florestal, Rua do Horto 931, 02377-000 São Paulo SP, Brazil.
6
Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 13506-900 Rio Claro SP, Brazil.
7
Curso de Gestão Ambiental, Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades, Universidade de São Paulo, 03828-000 São Paulo SP, Brazil.
8
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada.

Abstract

Ecological set-asides are a promising strategy for conserving biodiversity in human-modified landscapes; however, landowner participation is often precluded by financial constraints. We assessed the ecological benefits and economic costs of paying landowners to set aside private land for restoration. Benefits were calculated from data on nearly 25,000 captures of Brazilian Atlantic Forest vertebrates, and economic costs were estimated for several restoration scenarios and values of payment for ecosystem services. We show that an annual investment equivalent to 6.5% of what Brazil spends on agricultural subsidies would revert species composition and ecological functions across farmlands to levels found inside protected areas, thereby benefiting local people. Hence, efforts to secure the future of this and other biodiversity hotspots may be cost-effective.

PMID:
25170150
DOI:
10.1126/science.1255768
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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