Global efforts to conserve biodiversity have the potential to deliver economic benefits to people (i.e., "ecosystem services"). However, regions for which conservation benefits both biodiversity and ecosystem services cannot be identified unless ecosystem services can be quantified and valued and their areas of production mapped. Here we review the theory, data, and analyses needed to produce such maps and find that data availability allows us to quantify imperfect global proxies for only four ecosystem services. Using this incomplete set as an illustration, we compare ecosystem service maps with the global distributions of conventional targets for biodiversity conservation. Our preliminary results show that regions selected to maximize biodiversity provide no more ecosystem services than regions chosen randomly. Furthermore, spatial concordance among different services, and between ecosystem services and established conservation priorities, varies widely. Despite this lack of general concordance, "win-win" areas - regions important for both ecosystem services and biodiversity - can be usefully identified, both among ecoregions and at finer scales within them. An ambitious interdisciplinary research effort is needed to move beyond these preliminary and illustrative analyses to fully assess synergies and trade-offs in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 2008