Identification of Conservation Priority Zones Using Spatially Explicit Valued Ecosystem Services: A Case from the Indian Sundarbans

Srikanta Sannigrahi*, Francesco Pilla, Bidroha Basu, Arunima Sarkar Basu, Qi Zhang, Ying Wang, Pawan Kumar Joshi, Suman Chakraborti, Luca Coscieme, Saskia Keesstra, P.S. Roy, Paul C. Sutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Demarcation of conservation priority zones (CPZs) using spatially explicit models is the new challenge in ecosystem services (ESs) research. This study identifies the CPZs of the Indian Sundarbans by integrating 2 different approaches, that is, ESs and ecosystem health (EH). Five successive steps were followed to conduct the analysis: First, the ESs were estimated using biophysical and economic methods and a hybrid method (that combines biophysical and economic methods); second, the vigor–organization–resilience (VOR) model was used for estimating EH; third, the risk characterization value (RCV) of ESs was measured using the function of EH and ESs; fourth, Pearson correlation test was performed to analyze the interaction between ESs and EH components; and fifth, the CPZs were defined by considering 7 relevant components: ecosystem vigor, ecosystem organization, ecosystem resilience, RCV, EH, ESs, and the correlation between EH and ESs. Among the major ecoregions of the Sundarbans, the highest ESs value in economic terms is provided by the mangrove ecosystem (US$19 144.9 million per year). The highest conservation priority score was projected for the Gosaba block, which is dominated by dense mangrove forests. The estimated CPZs were found to be highly consistent with the existing biodiversity zonations. The outcome of this study could be a reference for environmentalists, land administrators, researchers, and decision makers to design relevant policies to protect the high values of the Sundarbans ecosystem. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2020;16:773–787.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-787
Number of pages15
JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Conservation priority zones
  • Ecosystem health
  • Ecosystem services
  • InVEST
  • Nature's value

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