Safeguarding ecosystem services and biodiversity is critical to achieving sustainable development. To date, ecosystem services quantification has focused on the biophysical supply of services with less emphasis on human beneficiaries (i.e., demand). Only when both occur do ecosystems benefit people, but demand may shift ecosystem service priorities toward human-dominated landscapes that support less biodiversity. We quantified how accounting for demand affects the efficiency of conservation in capturing both human benefits and biodiversity by comparing conservation priorities identified with and without accounting for demand. We mapped supply and benefit for 3 ecosystem services (flood mitigation, crop pollination, and nature-based recreation) by adapting existing ecosystem service models to include and exclude factors representing human demand. We then identified conservation priorities for each with the conservation planning program Marxan. Particularly for flood mitigation and crop pollination, supply served as a poor proxy for benefit because demand changed the spatial distribution of ecosystem service provision. Including demand when jointly targeting biodiversity and ecosystem service increased the efficiency of conservation efforts targeting ecosystem services without reducing biodiversity outcomes. Our results highlight the importance of incorporating demand when quantifying ecosystem services for conservation planning.
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© 2019 The Authors.
Watson KB, Galford GL, Sonter LJ, Koh I, Ricketts TH. Effects of human demand on conservation planning for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Conservation Biology. 2019 Aug;33(4):942-52.