SCGIS Webinar: Mapping investment opportunities for ecosystem services in Madagascar
Presenter: Rachel Neugarten, Conservation International
Deciding where to invest scarce conservation dollars can be difficult due to competing priorities, conflicting values, and complicated social and political dynamics. In this context, decision makers need information that can quickly help determine where conservation investments will have the greatest impact. In many parts of the world, data on the benefits of nature to people is lacking, and there is often limited time and funding for assessments. Our team at Conservation International conducted a rapid assessment of the ecosystem service benefits provided by biodiversity priority areas in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot, to help inform a USD 8.5 million funding strategy of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). We used existing spatial datasets to map priorities for forest carbon stocks, freshwater ecosystem services, hunting and non-timber forest products, coastal protection, and nature tourism. Our maps were shared with local stakeholders to validate the information and combined with other data to identify a final set of priorities for funding. While our rapid approach has limitations, it was considered sufficient to support funding decisions by local actors. We have replicated the approach in other data-poor regions (Cambodia, Liberia) in order to help target scarce conservation resources to the most important places for both nature and people.