Rapid assessment of ecosystem services provided by two mineral extraction sites restored for nature conservation in an agricultural landscape in eastern England

Phillip J. Blaen, Li Jia, Kelvin S.-h. Peh, Rob H. Field, Andrew Balmford, Michael A. Macdonald, Richard B. Bradbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
535 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Despite growing recognition that mineral sites restored for nature conservation can enhance local biodiversity, the wider societal benefits provided by this type of restoration relative to alternative options are not well understood. This study addresses this research gap by quantifying differences in ecosystem services provision under two common mineral site after-uses: nature conservation and agriculture. Using a combination of site-specific primary field data, benefits transfer and modelling, we show that for our sites restoration for nature conservation provides a more diverse array of ecosystem services than would be delivered under an agricultural restoration scenario. We also explore the effects of addressing different conservation targets, which we find alter the provision of ecosystem services on a service-specific basis. Highly species-focused intervention areas are associated with increased carbon storage and livestock grazing provision, whereas non-intervention areas are important for carbon sequestration, fishing, recreation and flood risk mitigation. The results of this study highlight the wider societal importance of restored mineral sites and may help conservation managers and planners to develop future restoration strategies that provide benefits for both biodiversity and human well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0121010
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Conservation science
  • Ecosystems
  • Fish farming
  • Flooding
  • Grazing
  • Habitats

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