Diminishing return on investment for biodiversity data in conservation planning

Grantham, Hedley S., Moilanen, Atte, Wilson, Kerrie A., Pressey, Robert L., Rebelo, Tony G., and Possingham, Hugh P. (2008) Diminishing return on investment for biodiversity data in conservation planning. Conservation Letters, 1 (4). pp. 190-198.

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Abstract

It is generally assumed that gathering more data is a good investment for conservation planning. However, the benefits of additional data have seldom been evaluated by analyzing the return on investment. If there are diminishing returns in terms of improved planning, then resources might be better directed toward other actions, depending on their relative costs and benefits. Our aim was to determine the return on investment from spending different amounts on survey data before undertaking a program of implementing new protected areas. We estimated how much protea data is obtained as a function of dollars invested in surveying. We then simulated incremental protection and loss of habitat to determine the benefit of investment in that data on the protection of proteas. We found that, after an investment of only US$100,000 (∼780,000 South Africa Rand [ZAR]), there was little increase in the effectiveness of conservation prioritizations, despite the full data set costing at least 25 times that amount.

Item ID: 6132
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Keywords: conservation planning; protection; surveying; biodiversity assessment; dynamic conservation planning; land-use modeling; resource allocation
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2010 01:38
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960699 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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