Climate change and the cost of conserving species in Madagascar

J. Busch, R. Dave, L. Hannah, Alison Cameron, A. Rasolohery, P. Roehrdanz, G. Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
437 Downloads (Pure)


We examined the cost of conserving species as climate changes using Madagascar as an example. We used a Maxent species distribution model to predict the ranges of 74 plant species endemic to the forests of Madagascar from 2000-2080 in three climate scenarios. We set a conservation target of achieving 10,000 hectares of forest cover for each species, and calculated the cost of achieving this target under each climate scenario. We interviewed natural forest restoration project managers and conducted a literature review to obtain the net present cost per hectare of management actions to maintain or establish forest cover. For each species we added hectares of land from lowest to highest cost per additional year of forest cover until the conservation target was achieved throughout the time period. Climate change was predicted to reduce the size of species’ ranges, the overlap between species’ ranges and existing or planned protected areas, and the overlap between species’ ranges and existing forest. As a result, climate change increased the cost of achieving the conservation target by necessitating successively more costly management actions: additional management within existing protected areas (US$0-60/ha), avoidance of forest degradation (loss of biomass) in community-managed areas ($160-576/ha), avoidance of deforestation in unprotected areas ($252-1069/ha), and establishment of forest on non-forested land within protected areas ($802-2710/ha), in community-managed areas ($962-3226/ha), and in unprotected areas ($1054-3719/ha). Our results suggest that though forest restoration may be required for the conservation of some species as climate changes, it is more cost-effective to maintain existing forest wherever possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408–419
Number of pages12
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
Early online date12 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • adaptation
  • biodiversity conservation
  • forest restoration
  • deforestation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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