Quantifying and resolving conservation conflicts in forest landscapes via multiobjective optimization

Environmental planning for of the maintenance of different conservation objectives should take into account multiple contrasting criteria based on alternative uses of the landscape. We develop new concepts and approaches to describe and measure conflicts among conservation objectives and for resolving them via multiobjective optimization. To measure conflicts we introduce a compatibility index that quantifies how much targeting a certain conservation objective affects the capacity of the landscape for providing another objective. To resolve such conflicts we find compromise solutions defined in terms of minimax regret, i.e. minimizing the maximum percentage of deterioration among conservation objectives. Finally, we apply our approach for a case study of management for biodiversity conservation and development in a forest landscape. We study conflicts between six different forest species, and we identify management solutions for simultaneously maintaining multiple speciesí habitat while obtaining timber harvest revenues. We employ the method for resolving conflicts at a large landscape level across a long 50-years forest planning horizon. Our multiobjective approach can be an instrument for guiding hard choices in the conservation-development nexus with a perspective of developing decision support tools for land use planning. In our case study multiple use management and careful landscape level planning using our approach can reduce conflicts among biodiversity objectives and offer room for synergies in forest ecosystems.