Opportunities for cost-sharing in conservation: variation in volunteering effort across protected areas
Armsworth P.R., Cantu-Salazar L., Parnell M., Booth J.E., Stoneman R. & Davies Z.G. (2013)
 
PLOS One 8:1, 1 - 7
 

Abstract

Efforts to expand protected area networks are limited by the costs of managing protected sites. Volunteers who donate labour to help manage protected areas can help defray these costs. However, volunteers may be willing to donate more labour to some protected areas than others. Understanding variation in volunteering effort would enable conservation organisations to account for volunteer labour in their strategic planning. We examined variation in volunteering effort across 59 small protected areas managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, a regional conservation nonprofit in the UK. Three surveys of volunteering effort revealed consistent patterns of variation across protected areas. Using the most detailed of these sources - a survey of site managers - we estimate that volunteers provided 3200 days of labour per year across the 59 sites with a total value exceeding that of paid staff time spent managing the sites. The median percentage by which volunteer labour supplements management costs on the sites was 36%. Volunteering effort and paid management costs are positively correlated, after controlling for the effect of site area. We examined how well a range of characteristics of the protected areas and surrounding communities explain variation in volunteering effort. Protected areas that are larger have been protected for longer and that are located near to denser conurbations experience greater volunteering effort. Together these factors explain 38% of the observed variation in volunteering effort across protected areas.

Publications

 

en:mapping looks at conservation issues in relation to biodiversity, ecological functioning and demographics. The principal, Mark Parnell, takes an active role in research to help disseminate new findings and concepts. Below are a selection of recent publications and presentations by Mark Parnell:

Website under development and more information on publications to follow

Relationships between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functions in UK blanket bogs: Linking process understanding to ecosystem service valuation
Evans C.D, Bonn A.,Holden J., Reed M.S.,Evans M.G., Worrall F., Couwenberg J. & Parnell M. (2014)
 
Ecosystem Services 9, 5-19
 

Abstract

Quantification and valuation of ecosystem services are critically dependent on the quality of underpinning science. While key ecological processes may be understood, translating this understanding into quantitative relationships suitable for use in an ecosystem services context remains challenging. Using blanket bogs as a case study, we derived quantitative ‘pressure-response functions’ linking anthropogenic pressures (drainage, burning, sulphur and nitrogen deposition) with ecosystem functions underpinning key climate, water quality and flood regulating services. The analysis highlighted: i) the complex and sometimes conflicting or interactive effects of multiple anthropogenic pressures on different ecosystem functions; ii) the role of ‘biodiversity’ (primarily presence/absence of key plant functional types) as an intermediate factor determining how anthropogenic pressures translate into changes in flows of some ecosystem services; iii) challenges relating to the spatial scale and configuration of anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem service beneficiaries; and iv) uncertainties associated with the lags between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem responses. The conceptual approach described may provide a basis for a more quantitative, multi-parameter approach to the valuation of ecosystem services and the evidence-based optimisation of policy and land-management for ecosystem services.

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