Multi-objective conservation and restoration planning in urban landscapes

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Jean-Olivier Goyette, Poliana Mendes, Jérôme Cimon-Morin, Stéphanie Pellerin et Monique Poulin

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Human activities have led to the degradation of wetlands, impinging on their capacity to deliver essential ecosystem services to society. Wetland restoration now appears as an essential strategy to recover the supply of these ecosystem services, particularly in regions of high agricultural or urban development. The cost and limited resources available for restoration call for cost-efficient systematic planning approaches. Here, we aimed to develop a framework to prioritize wetlands for protection and restoration accounting for their complementary roles at maintaining ecosystem services to local beneficiaries in the agglomeration of Quebec City, Qc, Canada. We quantified anthropogenic pressures within existent wetlands and used those to estimate restoration costs. We modeled the supply and demand of nine key ecosystem services associated with wetlands. As additional sites for restoration, we mapped historical wetlands that were fully converted to other land uses over time, using Landsat images. Using the systematic planning software Marxan, we prioritized sites to achieve a range of conservation targets. We show how restoration can help, or even allow, meeting conservation targets. Despite higher costs compared to protection, restoration was part of optimized solutions, substituting protection interventions of pristine sites. These results highlight the importance of considering cost-benefit ratios of the different conservation interventions (protection VS restoration), as well as the demand for ecosystem services by society. Finally, we show how keeping a dual perspective on restoration priorities, by accounting for both their intrinsic value and cost-efficient complementary role within an integrated plan, brings more transparency to prioritization outcomes.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program