The influence of planning unit characteristics on the efficiency and spatial pattern of systematic conservation planning assessments

Nhancale, Bruno A. and Smith, Robert J. (2011) The influence of planning unit characteristics on the efficiency and spatial pattern of systematic conservation planning assessments. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20 (8). pp. 1821-1835. ISSN 0960-3115. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-011-0063-7

Abstract

Systematic conservation planning is a widely used approach for designing protected area systems and ecological networks. This generally involves dividing the planning region into a series of planning units and using computer software to select portfolios of these units that meet specified conservation targets whilst minimising conservation costs. Previous research has shown that changing the size and shape of these planning units can alter the apparent spatial characteristics of the underlying data and thus influence conservation assessment results. However, this may be less problematic when using newer software that can account for additional constraints based on portfolio costs and fragmentation levels. Here we investigate these issues using a dataset from southern Africa and measure the extent to which changing planning unit shape, size and baseline affects the results of conservation planning assessments. We show that using hexagonal planning units instead of squares produces more efficient and less fragmented portfolios and that using larger planning units produces portfolios that are less efficient but more likely to identify the same priority areas. We also show that using real-world constraints in the analysis, based on reducing socio-economic costs and minimising fragmentation levels, reduces the influence of planning unit characteristics on the results and so argue that future studies should adopt a similar approach when investigating factors that influence conservation assessments.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: Times Cited: 0
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Bob Smith
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2011 14:45
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 10:44
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/28241 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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