The Princeton Guide to Ecology

By Simon A. Levin | Go to book overview
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V.4
Building and Implementing
Systems of Conservation Areas
Will R. Turner and Robert L. Pressey
OUTLINE
1. Introduction
2. Systematic conservation planning
3. Data for conservation planning
4. Methods for the selection of conservation areas
5. Representation or persistence? Dynamics and uncertainty
6. Global conservation planning
7. The future of conservation planning: Research challenges

The future of biodiversity depends critically on effective systems of conservation areas. The science underpinning the design and implementation of these systems has benefited from advances in ecology, data acquisition, and computational methods. Future success requires innovation on issues such as scale, the dynamic nature of threats and opportunities, and socioeconomic factors.


GLOSSARY

algorithm. Sequence of defined steps to achieve a result, defined by humans but often solved by computers, especially for complex conservation planning problems

conservation area. Place where action is taken to promote the persistence of biodiversity

irreplaceability. Property of a site measuring the likelihood that its protection will be required for a system of conservation areas to meet all targets or to otherwise optimize a conservation objective function

objective function. Mathematical statement of quantities to be maximized (e.g., the number of species or other biodiversity elements meeting targets) or minimized (e.g., cost)

persistence. Sustained existence of species or other elements of biodiversity both within and outside of conservation areas; as a conservation target, generally preferable to representation

representation. Sampling of biodiversity pattern, such as a number of species occurrences, within the boundaries of conservation areas; contrast with persistence

systematic conservation planning. The process of identifying and implementing systems of complementary conservation areas that together achieve explicit, quantifiable targets for the conservation of biological diversity

target. Explicit, quantifiable outcome desired for each species or other biodiversity element of interest


1. INTRODUCTION

The fraction of Earth’s surface protected in conservation areas increased dramatically in the twentieth century with more than 10% of terrestrial area now under some form of protection (Chape et al., 2005). This effort could not come at a more important time: biodiversity worldwide is in jeopardy, with current species extinction rates estimated to be at least 100– 1000 times higher than in prehuman times. Yet the extent of protected areas alone gives an incomplete picture. Too often these areas have been chosen on the basis of high scenic value or political expediency rather than the persistence of biological diversity. This tendency is evident in the widespread occurrence of areas ostensibly for biodiversity conservation in locations that are poorly drained, arid, remote, steep, or otherwise undesirable for homes, farms, resource extraction, and other human uses. This approach might sound like a “win–win” solution for people and other species. Yet it leaves the species most likely to become extinct— those most subject to human pressures—inadequately protected. The decline of biodiversity and the irreversible loss of conservation opportunities therefore

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