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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Cost-effectiveness of conservation strategies implemented in boreal forests: The area selection process

Wikberg, Sofie; Perhans, Karin; Kindstrand, Claes; Djupstrom, Line Boberg; Boman, Mattias; Mattsson, Leif; Schroeder, Leif Martin; Weslien, Jan; Gustafsson, Lena


To protect land from commercial exploitation is a common conservation practice. However, this requires large financial resources and it is therefore important to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different strategies used in the selection of these conservation areas. In this study we compare four strategies and relate the differences in cost-effectiveness to differences in the selection process. We measure conservation benefits both as the amount of three tree structures and as the number of species in three species groups. We also estimate both the information cost associated with selecting conservation areas and the opportunity cost. we found the key habitat strategy to be the over-all most cost-effective. in this strategy, the areas have a flexible size and are selected by the authorities in a national field survey. The least cost-effective strategy was one where the selection was based only on forest classes in a satellite map. Intermediate were the retention group strategy, where small areas are left by the forest owner at harvesting, and the nature reserve strategy, where large areas are selected by the authorities. We emphasize that the differences we found are associated with the selection process and that other aspects, such as long-term survival of species, may rank the strategies differently. We conclude that the cost-effectiveness of a selection strategy depends on the size of the planning area for selection of conservation areas, the size of the conservation areas, the objective of the agent making the selection, and the amount and type of information on which the selection is based. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biodiversity; Species-investment curves; Information cost; Opportunity cost; Complementarity

Published in

Biological Conservation
2009, Volume: 142, number: 3, pages: 614-624 Publisher: Elsevier