Today, there are few large landscapes that remain to support biodiversity. Their preservation is especially difficult in developing countries, where population growth is high and there is a great demand for land for increased production. The Cardamom landscape in Cambodia is one place where ecosystem preservation has become a national concern. Stakeholders have argued over the management of the landscape that features intact natural forest, valuable biodiversity, and ecosystem services. The private sector, along with several government agencies, is pushing for industrial development. Donor communities and none-governmental organizations want preservation. Finally, several government agencies such as the Ministry of Environment prefer to balance the two different interests. However, the most important question to ask is how we should develop this important landscape in an environmentally sound and economically efficient manner. To answer this question, I created three landscape management scenarios: strong development, strong conservation, and mixed conservation and development based on current government policy, development pressure, and donor community and NGO's arguments. I used GIS, InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs), and other models, to evaluate monetary values of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, hydropower, and agriculture returns under each scenario and compared the returns across scenarios. Changes in elephant population and revenue from four ecotourism projects were used to convert biodiversity habitat scores into monetary values. I found that the strong conservation scenario provided the greatest economic return and at the same time sustained biodiversity in the landscape. Carbon sequestration was the most influential ecosystem service with a large difference in monetary returns between the conservation scenario and the development scenario. The results of this dissertation provide support for recommending that the Cambodian government should strongly protect the Cardamom landscape instead of managing it in other directions.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2014. Major: Conservation Biology. Advisor: James D.L. Smith, Alan Stephen Polasky. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 130 pages, appendices 1-9.
Cardamom landscape management to sustain biodiversity and Economic retruns in Cambodia.
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