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Title: Incorporating ecological and evolutionary processes into continental-scale conservation planning
Contributor(s): Klein, Carissa (author); Wilson, Kerrie (author); Watts, Matthew (author)orcid ; Stein, Janet (author); Berry, Sandra (author); Carwardine, Josie (author); Stafford Smith, Mark (author); Mackey, Brendan (author); Possingham, Hugh P (author)
Publication Date: 2009
DOI: 10.1890/07-1684.1
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Abstract: Systematic conservation planning research has focused on designing systems of conservation areas that efficiently protect a comprehensive and representative set of species and habitats. Recently, there has been an emphasis on improving the adequacy of conservation area design to promote the persistence and future generation of biodiversity. Few studies have explored incorporating ecological and evolutionary processes into conservation planning assessments. Biodiversity in Australia is maintained and generated by numerous ecological and evolutionary processes at various spatial and temporal scales. We accommodated ecological and evolutionary processes in four ways: (1) using sub-catchments as planning units to facilitate the protection of the integrity and function of ecosystem processes occurring on a sub-catchment scale; (2) targeting one type of ecological refugia, drought refugia, which are critical for the persistence of many species during widespread drought; (3) targeting one type of evolutionary refugia which are important for maintaining and generating unique biota during long-term climatic changes; and (4) preferentially grouping priority areas along vegetated waterways to account for the importance of connected waterways and associated riparian areas in maintaining processes. We identified drought refugia, areas of relatively high and regular herbage production in arid and semiarid Australia, from estimates of gross primary productivity derived from satellite data. In this paper, we combined the novel incorporation of these processes with a more traditional framework of efficiently representing a comprehensive sample of biodiversity to identify spatial priorities across Australia. We explored the trade-offs between economic costs, representation targets, and connectivity. Priority areas that considered ecological and evolutionary processes were more connected along vegetated waterways and were identified for a small increase in economic cost. Priority areas for conservation investment are more likely to have long-term benefits to biodiversity if ecological and evolutionary processes are considered in their identification.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Ecological Applications, 19(1), p. 206-217
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1939-5582
Field of Research (FOR): 080605 Decision Support and Group Support Systems
050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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