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How much does it cost to save a species from extinction? Costs and rewards of conserving the Lear's macaw.


ABSTRACT: Although the limited resources available to save species from extinction necessitate the optimization of conservation actions, little is known about their costs and effectiveness. We developed a costs-rewards framework that integrates information on which sectors of society contribute to funding conservation, how much is contributed, how funds are distributed among conservation targets and how these investments drive not only conservation rewards but also the economic and ecosystem services that benefit society. We applied this framework to the Lear's macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), a species discovered in the wild in 1978 with only 60 individuals. Funds invested over the last 25 years reached US$3.66 million. The contribution of governments, non-governmental organizations and private funders varied over time, as did the funding targets. Funds were proportionally invested to mitigate the main causes of mortality, while no funds were devoted to protecting foraging habitats. Conservation rewards were satisfactory, with the cost and time needed to downlist the species from critically endangered to endangered being similar to those invested in other bird species. However, economic rewards (through ecotourism and handicrafts linked to the conservation of the species) were low and require promotion, while ecosystem services provided by Lear's macaws have yet to be quantified.

SUBMITTER: Barbosa AEA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6689625 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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