Ecological and Economic Dimensions of Fire and Anthropogenic Disturbance in Maquis Woodlands of the Carmel Range: Implications for Planning and Management
AbstractThis paper integrates research in economic valuation, fire disturbance, and land use change in a model that estimates the consequences of man-made and natural disturbance on woodland succession. The proposed expansion of road infrastructure in the Carmel range in northern Israel is developed as a case study. Two woodland succession scenarios are developed, one with existing road infrastructure and one with the proposed expansion. Monetary values are applied to the simulated changes in land cover. The main findings are that the construction of the road in combination with ongoing fire exposures would result in a net loss of 30 ha of natural maquis cover. Of the remaining maquis areas, succession will favour open maquis and there will be a net loss of moderate and dense maquis. The present value of the economic losses associated with these land cover changes is approximately US$640 million including lost benefits from direct and indirect uses as well as option and non-use values. The issue of road expansion is currently the subject of vigorous debate within the conservation and transport planning sectors in Israel. The results of the research have the capacity to support decision making on the scope of public infrastructure projects that have environmental spillovers as well as responses by conservation managers.
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