The conservation against development paradigm in protected areas: Valuation of ecosystem services in the Doñana social–ecological system (southwestern Spain)

The ecosystems of the Doñana social-ecological system (southwestern Spain) provide numerous ecosystem services to society. The most important ecosystem services were valued through a market-based approach, revealed-preference and stated-preference methods to assess the conservation effectiveness of the Doñana Protected Area, with consideration of existing human activities in surrounding lands.

It was also analysed the spatial distribution of the ecosystem services beneficiaries and the scale of their related markets. We found a clear trade-off between the local and global market values of ecosystem services because landscape management outside of the Doñana Protected Area promotes the provision of ecosystem services associated with international markets.

Results suggest that a conservation against development model occurs in the Doñana social-ecological system, in which land use intensification takes place outside of the Protected Area borders as a result of promoting marketed ecosystem services, while biodiversity conservation is the main activity inside the Protected Area.

In conclusion, protected areas should be part of a larger-scale, adaptive landscape management strategy in which conservation planning should be the focal element in coordinating sectoral policies in the context of social-ecological systems.

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