SYMP 5-4
Ecosystem services at the interface of conservation and human development projects

Tuesday, August 11, 2015: 9:40 AM
308, Baltimore Convention Center
Jane C. Ingram, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY
Background/Questions/Methods: Over the past decade, the ecosystem services framework and approaches have increasingly helped unite worlds that have not always been well-aligned: biodiversity conservation, human well-being and economic development. By elucidating the ways in which various components of living systems contribute to different aspects of human well-being, more nuanced understandings of how nature contributes to people and society have emerged and are helping reconcile differences. This presentation focuses on research conducted in Southern African ecosystems that has utilized different ecosystem service approaches and tools to advance understandings on how natural systems in specific places contribute to important components of human well-being.

Results/Conclusions: In Southern Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and partners have conducted research to ecologically assess and socially and economically value how ecosystem services contribute to human welfare and economic development across several projects.  The results demonstrate how ecosystems that are high priority conservation areas are providing and regulating ecosystem services for different stakeholders and the value of these services to different stakeholders. A simulation of potential conservation and development decisions reveals the synergies and trade-offs that result across different dimensions of biodiversity and human well-being.  The presentation also demonstrates how an understanding of the way ecosystem services benefit different stakeholders and the economic values of services can facilitate the development of incentives that support conservation and sustainable development.  In summary, the results and analyses illustrate the limitations and opportunities of using ecosystem service approaches to support biodiversity conservation and human development. We posit that the ecosystem service framework and tools that have been developed in recent years provide a critical conceptual basis for identifying and navigating synergies and tradeoffs that may occur between conservation and human development goals.