Testing the effectiveness of surrogate species for conservation planning in the Greater Virunga Landscape, Africa

Jones, Kendall R., Plumptre, Andrew J., Watson, James E. M., Possingham, Hugh P., Ayebare, Sam, Rwetsiba, A., Wanyama, F., kujirakwinja, D. and Klein, Carissa J. (2016) Testing the effectiveness of surrogate species for conservation planning in the Greater Virunga Landscape, Africa. Landscape and Urban Planning, 145 1-11. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.09.006

Author Jones, Kendall R.
Plumptre, Andrew J.
Watson, James E. M.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Ayebare, Sam
Rwetsiba, A.
Wanyama, F.
kujirakwinja, D.
Klein, Carissa J.
Title Testing the effectiveness of surrogate species for conservation planning in the Greater Virunga Landscape, Africa
Journal name Landscape and Urban Planning   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0169-2046
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.09.006
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 145
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 12
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Given the limited funds available, spatial prioritisation is necessary to help decide when and where to undertake conservation. One method for setting local scale priorities for conservation action is the landscape species approach which aims to identify priorities based on the needs of a small number of wide ranging species with large environmental impacts. Despite being used for the past decade by conservation organisations such as Wildlife Conservation Society, the effectiveness of the approach for representing a more comprehensive range of biodiversity has never been evaluated. Here we compare conservation priorities identified using a suite of landscape species (n = 13) against those using many alternative sets of threatened or endemic species (n = 7–88) to assess the applicability and suitability of the landscape species approach in a biologically diverse landscape (Greater Virunga Landscape, Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa). We defined the minimum area needed to conserve each species on the basis of the species’ range size. We found that prioritising for landscape species adequately conserves only 31 (35%) species, whereas prioritising for an equal number of endemic species, threatened species, or randomly sampled species adequately conserves 74%, 69% and 42% of species, respectively. We also found that prioritising for one taxonomic group (birds or plants) alone resulted in better surrogacy performance than the Landscape Species. These results question the underlying assumption of the landscape species approach, that managing threats to Landscape Species will also manage threats to all other species, as it is applied in the Greater Virunga Landscape.
Keyword Landscape species approach
Protected area planning
Spatial prioritisation
Threat management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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