Opportunity cost of ad hoc marine reserve design decisions: an example from South Australia

Stewart, R. R., Noyce, T. and Possingham, H. P. (2003) Opportunity cost of ad hoc marine reserve design decisions: an example from South Australia. Marine Ecology-progress Series, 253 25-38. doi:10.3354/meps253025

Author Stewart, R. R.
Noyce, T.
Possingham, H. P.
Title Opportunity cost of ad hoc marine reserve design decisions: an example from South Australia
Journal name Marine Ecology-progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps253025
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 253
Start page 25
End page 38
Total pages 14
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Abstract Like many states and territories, South Australia has a legacy of marine reserves considered to be inadequate to meet current conservation objectives. In this paper we configured exploratory marine reserve systems, using the software MARXAN, to examine how efficiently South Australia's existing marine reserves contribute to quantitative biodiversity conservation targets. Our aim was to compare marine reserve systems that retain South Australia's existing marine reserves with reserve systems that are free to either ignore or incorporate them. We devised a new interpretation of irreplaceability to identify planning units selected more than could be expected from chance alone. This is measured by comparing the observed selection frequency for an individual planning unit with a predicted selection frequency distribution. Knowing which sites make a valuable contribution to efficient marine reserve system design allows us to determine how well South Australia's existing reserves contribute to reservation goals when representation targets are set at 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 50% of conservation features. Existing marine reserves that tail to contribute to efficient marine reserve systems constitute 'opportunity costs'. We found that despite spanning less than 4% of South Australian state waters, locking in the existing ad hoc marine reserves presented considerable opportunity costs. Even with representation targets set at 50%, more than halt of South Australia's existing marine reserves were selected randomly or less in efficient marine reserve systems. Hence, ad hoc marine reserve systems are likely to be inefficient and may compromise effective conservation of marine biodiversity.
Keyword Ecology
Marine & Freshwater Biology
Marine Reserves
Reserve Selection
Decision Theory
Representation Targets
Biodiversity Conservation
South Australia
Protected Areas
Biological Diversity
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 19:14:49 EST