Informally beneficial: Current and future ecosystem service benefits from a Belizean lowland neotropical savanna.

Wells, Geoffrey (2013) Informally beneficial: Current and future ecosystem service benefits from a Belizean lowland neotropical savanna. Masters thesis, University of Edinburgh.

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    Abstract

    Belizean lowland savannas, as with other less favoured areas. are currently marginalised in natural resource management (NRM)agendas, leading to mismanagement of biodiversity and other economic resources. Growing global food demand increases the likelihood that Belizean lowland savannas will be converted to agricultural systems through large scale commercial investment to improve drainage and soil nutrients. In turn, the expectation is for an expansion of large-holder agriculture in the contact of a weak NRM regime, and continued under-performance of sustainable development and conservation resources. To enable improved NRM in lowland savannas, this case study employed semi-structured interviews and selected rapid estimate valuations to generate an inventory of lowland savanna ecosystem services (ES) benefitting a rural village in Belize, including how the ES were accessed by beneficiaries. The study then employed a rapid consultative modelling process using Bayesian Belize Networks (BBNs) to model and compare stakeholder perceptions of how ES benefits may change under alternative land uses. Eighteen ecosystem services were identified by respondents and estimated monetary values were calculated for six of the ES. All of the current benefits were assessed to be accessed as either informal or public goods. The BBN modelling showed specific areas of agreement and disagreement amongst stakeholders, demonstrated a perception that agricultural conversion was not limited to large-holders, and showed that scenarios formalising land use were perceived to reduce informal and public good ES benefits. Study results provide a specific stakeholder analysis that may assist NRM decision within the project area. Generally for owland savannas in Belize and regionally, results demonstrate that lowland savannas may currently provide significant economic benefits for local communities, and suggest that informal and public good benefits should be considered in lowland savanna NRM plans to protect livelihoods, improve the success of NRM regimes, and to maximise public good benefits in the wider economy. With regard to agricultural expansion, results suggests an appetite for smallholder expansion in lowland savanna agriculture.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: Ecosystem services, lowland neotropical savanna, Belize, Crooked Tree
      Subjects: (C) Ecosystems > (CC) Terrestrial > (CCB) Savanna
      (C) Ecosystems > (CC) Terrestrial > (CCC) Wetlands
      (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (H) Protected Areas > (HJ) Wildlife Sanctuary
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IA) Economic Impacts
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 16:01
      Last Modified: 08 Jul 2014 16:01
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1442

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