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Socioeconomic and political trade-offs in biodiversity conservation: a case study of the Cerrado Biodiversity Hotspot, Brazil

Authors

  • Frederico V. Faleiro,

    1. Conservation Biogeography Lab, Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
    2. Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Evolução, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • Rafael D. Loyola

    Corresponding author
    • Conservation Biogeography Lab, Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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Correspondence: Rafael D. Loyola, Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Federal de Goiás, CP 131, CEP 74001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil.

E-mail: rdiasloyola@gmail.com

Abstract

Aim

To analyse spatial trade-offs in conservation of mammals, considering benefits of biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic costs.

Location

Cerrado Biodiversity Hotspot, Brazil.

Methods

We built ecological niche models (ENMs) for 154 mammals inhabiting the cerrado. We combined model projections to produce consensus maps of species' distributions for three types of models (envelope, statistical and machine-learning models). We used these range summaries as input data in spatial prioritization analyses. We compared six conservation scenarios, considering human population density, land cost, anthropogenic land use, political willingness to act and the distribution of species using trade-off analyses. We complemented the current network of protected areas, aiming to achieve a target of 17% of land protection in the cerrado.

Results

Species-rich sites coincide with regions with high human population, high land cost, high anthropogenic land use and diverse levels of political willingness to act. We found a significant change in spatial priorities when we included socioeconomic and political dimensions in analyses: top-priority sites moved north, reduced by 68% potential conservation conflicts with human population, reduced by 72% the total monetary cost of actions and reduced by 68% conflict with other anthropogenic land uses. It also increased by 80% the beneficial effect of political willingness to act.

Main conclusions

Our results reinforce the idea that using only biological criteria for proposing spatial conservation priorities can undermine conservation plans given increases in socioeconomic and political conflicts.

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