Exclusion of agricultural lands in spatial conservation prioritization strategies: Consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem service representation

América Paz Durán, James P. Duffy, Kevin J. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Agroecosystems have traditionally been considered incompatible with biological conservation goals, and often been excluded from spatial conservation prioritization strategies. The consequences for the representativeness of identified priority areas have been little explored. Here, we evaluate these for biodiversity and carbon storage representation when agricultural land areas are excluded from a spatial prioritization strategy for South America. Comparing different prioritization approaches, we also assess how the spatial overlap of priority areas changes. The exclusion of agricultural lands was detrimental to biodiversity representation, indicating that priority areas for agricultural production overlap with areas of relatively high occurrence of species. By contrast, exclusion of agricultural lands benefits representation of carbon storage within priority areas, as lands of high value for agriculture and carbon storage overlap little. When agricultural lands were included and equally weighted with biodiversity and carbon storage, a balanced representation resulted. Our findings suggest that with appropriate management, South American agroecosystems can significantly contribute to biodiversity conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20141529
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1792
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Agroecosystems
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation planning
  • Ecosystem services
  • Land use trade-offs
  • Zonation

Cite this