Incorporating ecological and evolutionary processes into continental-scale conservation planning

Klein, Carissa, Wilson, Kerrie, Watts, Matthew, Stein, Janet, Berry, Sandra, Carwardine, Josie, Stafford Smith, Mark, Mackey, Brendan and Possingham, Hugh (2009) Incorporating ecological and evolutionary processes into continental-scale conservation planning. Ecological Applications, 19 1: 206-217. doi:10.1890/07-1684.1

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Author Klein, Carissa
Wilson, Kerrie
Watts, Matthew
Stein, Janet
Berry, Sandra
Carwardine, Josie
Stafford Smith, Mark
Mackey, Brendan
Possingham, Hugh
Title Incorporating ecological and evolutionary processes into continental-scale conservation planning
Journal name Ecological Applications   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1051-0761
Publication date 2009-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/07-1684.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 19
Issue 1
Start page 206
End page 217
Total pages 12
Place of publication United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
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.
Keyword adequacy
ecological processes
evolutionary processes
gross primary productivity
spatial prioritization
systematic conservation planning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

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Created: Thu, 09 Jul 2009, 13:49:15 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences