Conserving Forest Wildlife and Other Ecosystem Services: Opportunity Costs and The Valuation of Alternative Logging Regimes

Ecosystems supply a wide variety of valued commodities, including ecological services. Valuing these commodities and determining the implications of their valuation for the optimal management of ecosystems is challenging. This paper considers the optimal spatial use of forest ecosystems given that they can be utilised for conserving wildlife species and for producing logs. It takes into account the alternatives of selective logging and heavy (less selective) logging. It considers whether it is optimal to partition the use of a forest so that a portion of it is used exclusively for wildlife conservation with the remainder being utilised for heavy logging (a dominant use strategy) or to combine wildlife conservation and selective logging in at least part of the forest (a multiple use strategy) with any remainder of the forest being available for heavy logging. The assumed objective is to maximise the profit from logging subject to the population of a focal forest wildlife species being sustained at a particular level, that is at a level at least equal to its minimum viable population. The optimal use strategy cannot be determined a priori but requires alternatives forgone to be assessed. While orangutans are used as an example, the model can be applied to other species. It can also be applied (as is shown) to other ecological services such as the quality of water flowing from forested areas. Although the model may appear at first sight to be quite particular, its application can be extended in several ways mentioned. It demonstrates that the optimal spatial patterns of ecosystem use require individual assessment.

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Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
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ISSN: 1327-8231 (Other)
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Series Statement:
Economics, Ecology and The Environment

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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