University of Vermont

Taylor Ricketts Lab

New Paper: Ecosystem services and tigers

Biological Conservation

Taylor is co-author on a paper just published in Biological Conservation.  The effort was led by Nirmal Bhagabati at WWF.  We explore how ecosystem services can reinforce (or not) efforts to conserve priority tiger habitat in Indonesia.  Congratulations Nirmal!


Ecosystem services reinforce Sumatran tiger conservation in land use plans 

Nirmal K. Bhagabati, Taylor Ricketts, Thomas Barano Siswa Sulistyawan, Marc Conte,
Driss Ennaanay, Oki Hadian, Emily McKenzie, Nasser Olwero, Amy Rosenthal, Heather Tallis, Stacie Wolny


Ecosystem services have clear promise to help identify and protect priority areas for biodiversity. To leverage them effectively, practitioners must conduct timely analyses at appropriate scales, often with limited data. Here we use simple spatial analyses on readily available datasets to compare the distribu- tion of five ecosystem services with tiger habitat in central Sumatra. We assessed services and habitat in 2008 and the changes in these variables under two future scenarios: a conservation-friendly Green Vision, and a Spatial Plan developed by the Indonesian government. In 2008, the range of tiger habitat overlapped substantially with areas of high carbon storage and sediment retention, but less with areas of high water yield and nutrient retention. Depending on service, location and spatial grain of analysis, there were both gains and losses from 2008 to each scenario; however, aggregate provision of each eco- system service (except water yield) and total area of tiger habitat were higher in the Vision than the Plan, likely driven by an increase in forest cover in the Vision. Sub-watersheds with high levels of several eco- system services contained substantially more tiger habitat than random subsets of sub-watersheds, sug- gesting that prioritizing ecosystem services could benefit tiger conservation. Our analyses provided input to government-led spatial planning and strategic environmental assessments in the study area, indicating that even under time and data constraints, policy-relevant assessments of multiple ecosystem services are feasible.