Incorporating uncertainty associated with habitat data in marine reserve design

Tulloch, Vivitskaia J., Possingham, Hugh P., Jupiter, Stacy D., Roelfsema, Chris, Tulloch, Ayesha I. T. and Klein, Carissa J. (2013) Incorporating uncertainty associated with habitat data in marine reserve design. Biological Conservation, 162 41-51. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.003

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Author Tulloch, Vivitskaia J.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Jupiter, Stacy D.
Roelfsema, Chris
Tulloch, Ayesha I. T.
Klein, Carissa J.
Title Incorporating uncertainty associated with habitat data in marine reserve design
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2013-06-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.003
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 162
Start page 41
End page 51
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
One of the most pervasive forms of uncertainty in data used to make conservation decisions is error associated with mapping of conservation features. Whilst conservation planners should consider uncertainty associated with ecological data to make informed decisions, mapping error is rarely, if ever, accommodated in the planning process. Here, we develop a spatial conservation prioritization approach that accounts for the uncertainty inherent in coral reef habitat maps and apply it in the Kubulau District fisheries management area, Fiji. We use accuracy information describing the probability of occurrence of each habitat type, derived from remote sensing data validated by field surveys, to design a marine reserve network that has a high probability of protecting a fixed percentage (10-90%) of every habitat type. We compare the outcomes of our approach to those of standard reserve design approaches, where habitat-mapping errors are not known or ignored. We show that the locations of priority areas change between the standard and probabilistic approaches, with errors of omission and commission likely to occur if reserve design does not accommodate mapping accuracy. Although consideration of habitat mapping accuracy leads to bigger reserve networks, they are unlikely to miss habitat conservation targets. We explore the trade-off between conservation feature representation and reserve network area, with smaller reserve networks possible if we give up on trying to meet targets for habitats mapped with a low accuracy. The approach can be used with any habitat type at any scale to inform more robust and defensible conservation decisions in marine or terrestrial environments
Keyword Conservation planning
Marine protected area
Reserve design
Coral reef mapping
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 2007-3184
Institutional Status UQ

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