Clear consideration of costs, condition and conservation benefits yields better planning outcomes

Evans, Megan C., Tulloch, Ayesha I.T., Law, Elizabeth A., Raiter, Keren G., Possingham, Hugh P. and Wilson, Kerrie A. (2015) Clear consideration of costs, condition and conservation benefits yields better planning outcomes. Biological Conservation, 191 716-727. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.023

Author Evans, Megan C.
Tulloch, Ayesha I.T.
Law, Elizabeth A.
Raiter, Keren G.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Wilson, Kerrie A.
Title Clear consideration of costs, condition and conservation benefits yields better planning outcomes
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2015-11-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.023
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 191
Start page 716
End page 727
Total pages 12
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2309 Nature and Landscape Conservation
Abstract The conservation benefit of a management action depends on what would have happened in the absence of an intervention, and whether the conservation objective is to maintain the existing biodiversity values, or to restore those that have been lost. How this benefit is calculated and considered in spatial prioritisation analyses could influence the expected cost-effectiveness of management, although this has not previously been explored. Here, we use a comprehensive decision theoretic approach to identify management priorities in a region of ecological, cultural and economic significance, the Great Western Woodlands (GWW) of south-western Australia. To demonstrate how cost, condition and conservation benefits affect prioritisation outcomes, we consider two different conservation objectives: the maintenance of native vegetation communities and the restoration of natural fire regimes. We compare the results from (1) our comprehensive approach, to priorities identified using two alternative approaches: (2) consider generic management costs (travel, labour) and assume that landscape condition is homogenous or (3) use landscape condition as a surrogate for the cost of management, i.e. areas in poor condition are assumed to have high costs. We demonstrate that prioritisation outcomes differ substantially depending on how the benefits and costs of a management action are calculated. Using landscape condition as a surrogate for management costs resulted in priority areas that were least cost-effective. To avoid misspent conservation funding, we argue that care must be taken to incorporate the most appropriate cost and condition metrics into spatial prioritisation analyses, and that conservation benefits must be derived from a clearly specified objective.
Keyword Conservation planning
Conservation benefit
Decision theory
Fire management
Weibull distribution
Mortality function
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID LP0883616
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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