Tardieu L., Truffery L.
Preserving natural habitat quality and/or recreational attractiveness? Spatial tools for management planning
The concept of ecosystem services (ESs) remains underused in supporting practical decisions in conservation/development plans and programmes. One of the most important knowledge gaps for a better consideration is related to ESs spatial assessment and mapping. In this paper, we assess and map two major ES in a regional park: recreational attractiveness and natural habitat quality. Because the area under study is a large territory, primary valuation techniques would have been difficult to apply. Thus, we develop a methodology to characterise the recreation attractiveness on a part of the area under study that is further transferred in the whole study area. Predictions are based on a function of biophysical (Lancasterian) characteristics and a travel cost model. To the best of our knowledge, this study constitutes one of the first attempts at function benefit transfer based on a travel cost model. Habitat quality is computed with the InVEST module. The results call for a better accounting of site characteristics in travel cost methods that principally focus on individual characteristics. From a policy guidance perspective, we show that spatial statistical analysis of the created indicators helps in evaluating management planning strategy by locating areas that need further conservation efforts.
Keywords: Forest recreational attractiveness, Habitat quality, InVEST, Travel cost method, Function benefit transfer, Regional park.

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