Economic Instruments for Habitat Conservation (Mata Atlantica)

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Chomitz et al. (1999) recommended a framework to guide the application of incentive-based policies for encouraging the provision of environmental services – including biodiversity conservation – by landholders.  This framework, they propose, would enable the simulation of alternative schemes that would “encourage clarity in the definition of goals and permit the development of simple, implementable strategies to reach those goals” (Chomitz et al. 1999, p. 168).  Because land use, opportunity costs, and biodiversity value vary spatially, the framework was envisioned as a means to exploit that variation to craft simple, implementable policy options.
In this project we implemented an analytical framework based upon the suggestions in Chomitz et al. (1999).  Specifically, we outline the framework and its basis in current conservation science and economic theory, which are used to define the desired landscape configuration for the conservation objectives.  We then present a case study in the “Mata Atlântica,” or Atlantic Forest, region of south Bahia state in Brazil to illustrate an application of the framework, named TAMARIN (Toolbox for Analysis of Mata Atlântica Restoration Incentives).  We demonstrate TAMARIN by comparing a series of scenarios, including the present situation and the likely future trend.  The results indicate the tradeoff between the suitability of sites for conservation with their value for other purposes.
TAMARIN performs two sets of GIS-based procedures, using a representation of the study area divided into 98.01 ha planning units (990 x 990 m).  First, it assists planning teams to design scenarios and second to evaluate their economic and ecological consequences.  Scenarios can be created by drawing on an electronic map, by defining rules for selection based on conservation and/or economic criteria, or by an external optimization model developed for the project.  Scenarios can be constrained by a maximum budget limit or can be unconstrained with the total costs being calculated as a consequence of the plan.  The framework can then calculate the effects of the scenario and create a series of GIS themes, tables, graphics, and reports that summarize the salient features for comparison with the present situation and other scenarios.
In addition to TAMARIN, the project developed an external optimizing land allocation model (Optimal Habitat Patch Selection or OHPAS) that selects the most cost efficient set of areas for conservation action that satisfies the desired future landscape configuration, if feasible within the budget constraint.  The optimal solution is then evaluated in terms of the same socioeconomic and environmental factors as other scenarios inside TAMARIN.  The optimal scenarios therefore set benchmarks against which scenarios for various policy instruments can be compared.
Chomitz, K. M., E. Brenes and L. Constantino.  1999.  Financing environmental services: The Costa Rican experience and its implications.  Science of the Total Environment  240: 157-169.


Frank W. Davis


David Stoms

Funding Agency: 

The World Bank

Project Period: 

July, 2000 to June, 2002

Research Area: