Effects of conservation interventions on multiple ecosystem services: Co-benefits, trade-offs, and decision-making
Convened by: Gorm Shackelford
The theme of ECCB 2018 is planetary wellbeing, which is a combination of human wellbeing and ecosystem wellbeing. It follows that conservationists have an interest not only in biodiversity but also in the other services that humans derive from ecosystems, and conservation actions need to be integrated with wider decision-making processes. Food, fibre, and fuel production are essential to human wellbeing, but their negative effects on biodiversity conservation are well known, and much has been written about how to manage these trade-off between human wellbeing and ecosystem wellbeing (1–3). Less well known are the effects of conservation interventions on other ecosystem services (such as climate, soil, and water regulation, pollination, and pest regulation) in food, fibre, and fuel producing ecosystems (4). For example, if farmers are paid to plant wildflower strips for pollinator conservation, does this produce co-benefits or trade-offs for carbon storage and water quality, and should farmers be credited or debited for these additional effects? Progress has been made towards identifying and mapping “bundles” of ecosystem services that seem to have similar drivers (1,5,6), but now we need to move towards identifying the best management practices for these bundles. What are the effects of conservation interventions on multiple ecosystem services within a bundle? Are there trade-offs or co-benefits? And how can we use this information to make evidence-based decisions about which interventions to implement, and where to implement them, if we want to efficiently meet multiple conservation targets? This symposium will explore these conservation questions in the context of agricultural, forestry, and peatland ecosystems. We will have both ecological and socio-economic talks about understanding and managing multiple ecosystem services though field work, systematic review and meta-analysis, multi-criteria decision analysis, and the design of agri-environment schemes.
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2. Balmford, A. et al. What conservationists need to know about farming. Proc. R. Soc. B-Biol. Sci. 279, 2714–2724 (2012).
3. Shackelford, G. E. et al. Conservation planning in agricultural landscapes: hotspots of conflict between agriculture and nature. Divers. Distrib. 21, 357–367 (2015).
4. Shackelford, G. E. et al. Sustainable Agriculture in California and Mediterranean Climates: Evidence for the effects of selected interventions. (University of Cambridge, 2017).
5. Shackelford, G. et al. Comparison of pollinators and natural enemies: a meta-analysis of landscape and local effects on abundance and richness in crops. Biol. Rev. 88, 1002–1021 (2013).
6. Harrison, P. A. et al. Linkages between biodiversity attributes and ecosystem services: A systematic review. Ecosyst. Serv. 9, 191–203 (2014).