A trilogy of inequalities: Land ownership, forest cover and ecosystem services distribution

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A main challenge in sustainability sciences is to incorporate distributional aspects into ecosystem management and conservation. We explored and contrasted land ownership, forest cover and ecosystem services supply (ES) distribution in two municipalities of southern Chile (Panguipulli and Ancud), comprising 5,584 private properties. We relied on farm typologies data and ES indicators for forage, water regulation, and recreation opportunities. We calculated Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients to establish concentration ratios, and performed a hotspot analysis to determine ES supply distribution across properties. In both municipalities land ownership was highly concentrated: large properties (> 1,000–30,000 ha) represented less than 1% of total and comprised 74.5% and 20.7% of farm area, in Panguipulli and Ancud respectively. Forest cover distribution followed the same pattern (80.5% and 58.2%, respectively). As a result, water regulation and recreation opportunities concentrated in medium and large properties, whereas forage concentrated in small and medium ones. Gini coefficients ranged from relatively equal to relatively unequal for land ownership, forests cover and ES in both study areas. These inequalities reflect a historical land ownership concentration in private lands since colonial times, a structural condition that challenges both nature conservation and development and, therefore, it should be brought to the forefront of policy design in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - Distributional justice, Ecosystem services curse, Ecosystem services supply inequality, Green grabbing, Inequality traps, Payments for ecosystem services