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Conservation Planning Literature

This page features peer-reviewed science, which offers insight foundational to the science of conservation planning.
Conservation Planning in a Changing World

Conservation Planning in a Changing World

Conservation planning is the process of locating, configuring, implementing and maintaining areas that are managed to promote the persistence of biodiversity and other natural values. Conservation planning is inherently spatial. The science behind it has solved important spatial problems and increasingly influenced practice. To be effective, however, conservation planning must deal better with two types of change. First, biodiversity is not static in time or space but generated and maintained by natural processes. Second, humans are altering the planet in diverse ways at ever faster rates.

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Conserving the Stage: Climate Change and the Geophysical Underpinnings of Species Diversity

Conserving the Stage: Climate Change and the Geophysical Underpinnings of Species Diversity

Conservationists have proposed methods for adapting to climate change that assume species distributions are primarily explained by climate variables. The key idea is to use the understanding of species-climate relationships to map corridors and to identify regions of faunal stability or high species turnover. An alternative approach is to adopt an evolutionary timescale and ask ultimately what factors control total diversity, so that over the long run the major drivers of total species richness can be protected. Within a single climatic region, the temperate area encompassing all of the Northeastern U.S. and Maritime Canada, we hypothesized that geologic factors may take precedence over climate in explaining diversity patterns. If geophysical diversity does drive regional diversity, then conserving geophysical settings may offer an approach to conservation that protects diversity under both current and future climates.

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Conserving the World’s Last Great Forest Is Possible: Here’s How

Conserving the World’s Last Great Forest Is Possible: Here’s How

A science/policy briefing note issued under the auspices of the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel and Associates.

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Incorporating Climate Change into Systematic Conservation Planning

Incorporating Climate Change into Systematic Conservation Planning

The principles of systematic conservation planning are now widely used by governments and non-government organizations alike to develop biodiversity conservation plans for countries, states, regions, and ecoregions. Many of the species and ecosystems these plans were designed to conserve are now being affected by climate change, and there is a critical need to incorporate new and complementary approaches into these plans that will aid species and ecosystems in adjusting to potential climate change impacts. We propose five approaches to climate change adaptation that can be integrated into existing or new plans.

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Planning for Biodiversity Conservation: Putting Conservation Science into Practice

Planning for Biodiversity Conservation: Putting Conservation Science into Practice

A seven-step framework for developing regional plans to conserve biological diversity, based upon principles of conservation biology and Ecology, is being used extensively by The Nature Conservancy to identify priority areas for conservation.

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Systematic Conservation Planning

Systematic Conservation Planning

The realization of conservation goals requires strategies for managing whole landscapes including areas allocated to both production and protection. Reserves alone are not adequate for nature conservation but they are the cornerstone on which regional strategies are built. Reserves have two main roles. They should sample or represent the biodiversity of each region and they should separate this biodiversity from processes that threaten its persistence. Existing reserve systems throughout the world contain a biased sample of biodiversity, usually that of remote places and other areas that are unsuitable for commercial activities. A more systematic approach to locating and designing reserves has been evolving and this approach will need to be implemented if a large proportion of today’s biodiversity is to exist in a future of increasing numbers of people and their demands on natural resources.

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The Northern Appalachian/Acadian Ecoregion: Priority Locations for Conservation Action

The Northern Appalachian/Acadian Ecoregion: Priority Locations for Conservation Action

This report describes the results of a research initiative launched by 2C1Forest to identify irreplaceable and vulnerable locations in the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion for the purpose of identifying priority locations for conservation action. Our methodology is data driven, comprehensive across the entire ecoregion, and spatially explicit at a high resolution, which allows our results to be replicated and applied at numerous spatial scales. Our approach to identifying priority locations involved three interlocking lines of analysis.

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Use of Population Viability Analysis and Reserve Selection Algorithms in Regional Conservation Plans

Use of Population Viability Analysis and Reserve Selection Algorithms in Regional Conservation Plans

Current reserve selection algorithms have difficulty evaluating connectivity and other factors necessary to conserve wide-ranging species in developing landscapes. Conversely, population viability analyses may incorporate detailed demographic data, but often lack sufficient spatial detail or are limited to too few taxa to be relevant to regional conservation plans. We developed a regional conservation plan for mammalian carnivores in the Rocky Mountain region using both a reserve selection algorithm (SITES) and a spatially explicit population model (PATCH).

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