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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-56

Ecosystem services provided by a former gravel extraction site in the uk under two contrasting restoration states


1 RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire; School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
2 RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK
3 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Correspondence Address:
Phillip J Blaen
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire; School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
UK
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.182803

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Mineral extraction sites restored for nature conservation can provide areas of high quality habitat and enhance local biodiversity, yet the ecosystem services and associated socio-economic benefits delivered by such sites are not well understood. Here we use a combination of primary field data, benefit transfer, and visitor questionnaires to assess ecosystem services provided by a former gravel mining site restored for nature conservation. We quantify the marginal benefits accrued from the site by comparing ecosystem service delivery from the current nature conservation state to delivery under a highly plausible alternative restoration state; namely a public amenity park. Our results suggest restoration for nature conservation is associated with relatively high carbon storage, but that carbon sequestration is offset to some degree by greenhouse gas fluxes from saturated reed bed areas. We demonstrate through a zonal travel-cost method and individual interviews that restoration for nature conservation contributes to local amenity value by providing specialised wildlife viewing opportunities to visitors. Our results highlight the potential ecosystem services associated with mineral sites restored for nature conservation. Notably, this study strengthens the evidence base to support the case for biodiversity-focused restoration of these extraction sites, both to the minerals industry and governmental planners, by suggesting that such restoration strategies may play an important role in contributing to human well-being without impeding economic progress.


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