Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: How long should we wait?

Grantham, H. S., Wilson, K.A., Moilanen, Atte, Rebelo, Tony and Possingham, H.P. (2009) Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: How long should we wait?. Ecology Letters, 12 4: 293-301. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01287.x

Author Grantham, H. S.
Wilson, K.A.
Moilanen, Atte
Rebelo, Tony
Possingham, H.P.
Title Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: How long should we wait?
Journal name Ecology Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1461-023X
Publication date 2009-04
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01287.x
Volume 12
Issue 4
Start page 293
End page 301
Total pages 9
Editor Holyoak, M.
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Blackwell Science
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 0502 Environmental Science and Management
050205 Environmental Management
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
050209 Natural Resource Management
960801 Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Abstract Decisions about where conservation actions are implemented are based on incomplete knowledge about biodiversity. The Protea Atlas is a comprehensive database, containing information collated over a decade. Using this data set in a series of retrospective simulations, we compared the outcome from different scenarios of information gain, and habitat protection and loss, over a 20-year period. We assumed that there was no information on proteas at the beginning of the simulation but knowledge improved each year. Our aim was to find out how much time we should spend collecting data before protecting habitat when there is ongoing loss of habitat. We found that, in this case, surveying for more than 2 years rarely increased the effectiveness of conservation decisions in terms of representation of proteas in protected areas and retention within the landscape. If the delay is too long, it can sometimes be more effective just using a readily available habitat map. These results reveal the opportunity costs of delaying conservation action to improve knowledge.
Keyword Biodiversity data
Cape Floristic Region
Dynamic conservation planning
Resource allocation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 08:31:50 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Biological Sciences