Prioritizing global conservation efforts

Wilson, Kerrie A., McBride, Marissa F., Bode, Michael and Possingham, Hugh P. (2006) Prioritizing global conservation efforts. Nature, 440 7082: 337-340. doi:10.1038/nature04366

Author Wilson, Kerrie A.
McBride, Marissa F.
Bode, Michael
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Prioritizing global conservation efforts
Journal name Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-0836
Publication date 2006-03-01
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature04366
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 440
Issue 7082
Start page 337
End page 340
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 0501 Ecological Applications
0502 Environmental Science and Management
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
050205 Environmental Management
050209 Natural Resource Management
Abstract One of the most pressing issues facing the global conservation community is how to distribute limited resources between regions identified as priorities for biodiversity conservation(1-3). Approaches such as biodiversity hotspots(4), endemic bird areas(5) and ecoregions(6) are used by international organizations to prioritize conservation efforts globally(7). Although identifying priority regions is an important first step in solving this problem, it does not indicate how limited resources should be allocated between regions. Here we formulate how to allocate optimally conservation resources between regions identified as priorities for conservation - the 'conservation resource allocation problem'. Stochastic dynamic programming is used to find the optimal schedule of resource allocation for small problems but is intractable for large problems owing to the curse of dimensionality(8). We identify two easy- to- use and easy- to- interpret heuristics that closely approximate the optimal solution. We also show the importance of both correctly formulating the problem and using information on how investment returns change through time. Our conservation resource allocation approach can be applied at any spatial scale. We demonstrate the approach with an example of optimal resource allocation among five priority regions in Wallacea and Sundaland, the transition zone between Asia and Australasia.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published in Letters section

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 19:07:01 EST