Planning for Persistence in Marine Reserves: A Question of Catastrophic importance

Game, E.T., Watts, M.E.J., Woolridge, S. and Possingham, H.P. (2008) Planning for Persistence in Marine Reserves: A Question of Catastrophic importance. Ecological Applications, 18 3: 670-680. doi:10.1890/07-1027.1

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Author Game, E.T.
Watts, M.E.J.
Woolridge, S.
Possingham, H.P.
Title Planning for Persistence in Marine Reserves: A Question of Catastrophic importance
Journal name Ecological Applications   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1051-0761
Publication date 2008-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/07-1027.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 18
Issue 3
Start page 670
End page 680
Total pages 11
Place of publication United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Abstract Large-scale catastrophic events, although rare, lie generally beyond the control of local management and can prevent marine reserves from achieving biodiversity outcomes. We formulate a new conservation planning problem that aims to minimize the probability of missing conservation targets as a result of catastrophic events. To illustrate this approach we formulate and solve the problem of minimizing the impact of large-scale coral bleaching events on a reserve system for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. We show that by considering the threat of catastrophic events as part of the reserve design problem it is possible to substantially improve the likely persistence of conservation features within reserve networks for a negligible increase in cost. In the case of the Great Barrier Reef, a 2% increase in overall reserve cost was enough to improve the long-run performance of our reserve network by >60%. Our results also demonstrate that simply aiming to protect the reefs at lowest risk of catastrophic bleaching does not necessarily lead to the best conservation outcomes, and enormous gains in overall persistence can be made by removing the requirement to represent all bioregions in the reserve network. We provide an explicit and well-defined method that allows the probability of catastrophic disturbances to be included in the site selection problem without creating additional conservation targets or imposing arbitrary presence/absence thresholds on existing data. This research has implications for reserve design in a changing climate.
Keyword Catastrophes
Coral Bleaching
Great Barrier Reef
Marine Reserves
Probability of persistence
Reserve selection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Fri, 23 Jan 2009, 03:39:32 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences