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Incorporating landscape transformation into local conservation prioritization: a case study in the Western Ghats, India

Nagendra, Harini (2001) Incorporating landscape transformation into local conservation prioritization: a case study in the Western Ghats, India. In: Biodiversity and Conservation, 10 (3). pp. 1572-9710.

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In fast-changing tropical landscapes, effective strategies for conservation must incorporate information on ecosystems and species distribution with that on landscape change. A possible methodology for conservation prioritization is developed and illustrated using a 27.5 km(2) tropical landscape in the Western Ghats hill chain of southern India. Vegetation types or ecosystems within the landscape are ranked based on the ecosystem services they might provide: number of endemic species harbored, species richness, contribution to carbon uptake, economic value of produce per ha and contribution to soil renewal. For a vegetation type, the weighted average of these ranks indicates its net conservation value. Weights thus provide a means of ascribing differential importance to an ecosystem service. Information on landscape change is also summarized by a matrix depicting the likelihood of transformations between vegetation types present in the landscape, projected 5 years into the future. For each transformation between two vegetation types, information on ecosystem service and dynamics is then integrated. Implications from the perspective of conservation are assessed as the product of transformation probability and the resultant gain/loss in conservation value. Strongly positive transformations are likely to result in positive impacts on conservation value, and occur without any additional conservation effort. Strongly negative transformations are likely to occur and have a strong negative impact on conservation value. Maximum conservation effort may be directed at halting or reversing these. This study thus describes a method for conservation prioritization, which integrates information on ecosystem function and services with ecosystem dynamics.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Biodiversity and Conservation
Publisher: Springer
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Keywords: biodiversity;conservation priorities;ecosystem management;ecosystem services;India;landscape change;tropics;Western Ghats.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2009 06:08
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:55
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/17042

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