Conservation planning and priorities

LIFS 4301 Conservation Biology Nov 12th 2013

Conservation planning
• The first law of conservation science should be that human population—which of course drives both threats to biodiversity and its conservation—is distributed unevenly around the world • This parallels a better-known first law of biodiversity science, that biodiversity itself is also distributed unevenly • Therefore, conservation would need to be planned or prioritized

Conservation planning
• Variation in threats to biodiversity can be measured as vulnerability, or, the breadth of options available over time to conserve a given biodiversity feature before it is lost. • The uneven distribution of biodiversity can be measured as irreplaceability, the extent of spatial options available for the conservation of a given biodiversity feature. • An alternative measure of irreplaceability is complementarity—the degree to which the biodiversity value of a given area adds to the value of an overall network of areas

Outline
• Global biodiversity conservation planning and priorities • Conservation planning and priorities on the ground • Coda: the completion of conservation planning

economically wealthy countries • The bulk of these resources are invested through multilateral agencies (in particular.Conservation budget • Many people care most about what is in their own backyard • 90% of the US$6 billion global conservation budget originates in. and is spent in. the Global Environment Facility) .

.

nine major templates of global terrestrial conservation priorities have been developed by conservation organizations. although in a variety of ways . to guide their own efforts and attract further attention • All nine templates fit into the vulnerability/irreplaceability framework.History and state of the field • Over the last two decades.

.

such as the US$150 million Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (www.org) .The costs and benefits of global priority-setting • Costs: several millions dollars.net) and the US$100 million Global Conservation Fund (www. the hotspots concept had focused US$750 million of globally flexible conservation resources.cepf. Entire funding mechanisms have been established to reflect global prioritization. mainly in the form of staff time • Benefits: over the preceding 15 years.conservation.

.

Current challenges and future directions • First. because they are hard to measure . but elusive. it remains unclear the degree to which priorities set using data for one taxon reflect priorities for others • Another open question is the extent to which conservation priorities represent not just current diversity but also evolutionary history • Conservation costs per unit area vary over seven orders of magnitude.

Outline • Global biodiversity conservation planning and priorities • Conservation planning and priorities on the ground • Coda: the completion of conservation planning .

Global assessments are underway for reptiles. and plants. freshwater species (fish.Species level conservation planning and priorities • Species is the fundamental unit of biodiversity. Avoiding species extinction can be seen as the fundamental goal of biodiversity conservation • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: This includes comprehensive assessments of all mammals. . odonata. as well as partially complete datasets for many other taxa. corals). marine species (fish. birds and amphibians. decapod crustaceans). mollusks.

specifically in estimation of extinction risk .Species level conservation planning and priorities • The first volumes published in the 1960s • Quantitative assessments across entire taxa • The heart of the IUCN Red List lies in assessment of vulnerability at the species level.

.

. environmental impact assessment.Species level conservation planning and priorities • Benefits: informing site conservation planning. However. especially for species with short generation times. and intergovernmental conventions • One problem: Climate change is now widely recognized as a serious threat to biodiversity. it is hard to apply the Red List criteria against climate change threats. because climate change is rather slow-acting. national policy.

com/watch?v=uIM4wsxnm4 .youtube.Setting Global Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation http://www.

Site level conservation planning and priorities • With 16 306 species known to be threatened with extinction. threatening 90% of threatened species • The logical implication of this is that the cornerstone of conservation action must be conserving the habitats in which these species live—establishing protected areas . it is impossible to protect them one at a time • Habitat destruction is the overwhelming driver.

Site level conservation planning and priorities • The World Database on Protected Areas: 104 791 protected areas worldwide covering 12% of the world’s land area • Much biodiversity is still wholly unrepresented within protected areas .

which often increases protected area coverage with minimal value for biodiversity • 2. The 1990s saw the advent of the rather more successful consensus workshop approach. approaches to planning protected area systems can be classified into four groups • 1. The oldest is ad hoc establishment.Site level conservation planning and priorities • Broadly. which allowed for data sharing and stake-holder buy-in .

The trend in conservation planning for implementation on the ground is now towards combining data-driven with stakeholder-driven techniques . most notably in South Africa • 4.Site level conservation planning and priorities • 3. led to large scale applications of wholly data-driven conservation planning. Developments in theory and advances in supporting software.

Site level conservation planning and priorities Australia Africa .

Site level conservation planning and priorities • This approach actually has a long history in bird conservation. and important bird area identification is now close to being complete worldwide • Over the last decade. the approach has been extended to numerous other taxa and thence generalized into the “key biodiversity areas” approach .

Site level conservation planning and priorities .

and an Important Plant Areas inventory . which includes nearly 9. • An impressive set of projects has already been carried out to map priority areas for conservation in Turkey • These include three inventories of Important Bird Areas.022 species). a marine turtle areas inventory.000 species of vascular plants and ferns and 34% endemism (3.Conservation planning for Key Biodiversity Areas in Turkey • Turkey is a key country for global biodiversity mainly because of its exceptionally rich flora.

reptiles. using standard KBA criteria across eight taxonomic groups: plants. freshwater fish. birds. butterflies. amphibians. dragonflies.Conservation planning for Key Biodiversity Areas in Turkey • The results of these projects were used as inputs to identify the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) of Turkey. and mammals .

Conservation planning for Key Biodiversity Areas in Turkey .

Site level conservation planning and priorities • All of the world’s international conservation organizations. and many national ones. to identify and implement action for the very highest priorities for site-level conservation . have come together as the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE).

youtube.com/watch?v=RLqySP7mx XQ .com/watch?v=FS62x9ASc4 KBA Prioritization and The Alliance for Zero Extinction http://www.Identifying Priority Sites http://www.youtube.

Current challenges and future directions • 1. • 2. but species assessments in these biomes are in their infancy. in the Amazon. Most applications of these approaches to date come from fragmented habitats—it often proves difficult to identify sites of global biodiversity conservation significance in regions that retain a wilderness character. seriously hampering conservation planning. Human threats to both freshwater and marine biodiversity are intense. for instance. Extension of site level conservation planning to aquatic environments. .

Prioritization—once sites have been identified and delineated as having global biodiversity conservation significance.Current challenges and future directions • 3. which should be assigned the most urgent conservation action? .

• Can we do conservation planning beyond representation? . and more than 20 at the site level.Sea/landscape level conservation planning and priorities • The conservation community has more than 40 years experience with conservation planning at the species level.

Sea/landscape level conservation planning and priorities • Conserving biodiversity in isolated protected areas might not ensure persistence • Long-term extinctions of mammal species from North American national parks • Similar patterns were uncovered across many taxa in Latin America. and Asia . Africa.

Sea/landscape level conservation planning and priorities • The mechanisms determining persistence—or extinction—in individual sites spans the full spectrum from the genetic scale through populations and communities. to the level of ecosystem processes across entire landscapes .

Sea/landscape level conservation planning and priorities • Scales of conservation required for all threatened terrestrial vertebrate species have been reviewed .

with this result varying significantly among taxa • Why each of these species required broad scale conservation: 43% of these 793 species were “area-demanding” and so required corridors for movement.Sea/landscape level conservation planning and priorities • 20% (793) of these threatened species required urgent broad scale conservation action. . no less than 72% were dependent on broad scale ecological processes acting across the landscape (15% require both).

Current challenges and future directions • As at the species and site levels. the incorporation of broad scale targets into conservation planning in aquatic systems lags behind the terrestrial environment. • Given the regimes of flows and currents inherent in rivers and oceans. the expectation is that broad scale conservation will be even more important in freshwater and in the sea than it is on land .

Current challenges and future directions • Changes in the nature and intensity of threats over time have important consequences for the prioritization of conservation actions among sites • Climate change is one such threat that will very likely require extensive landscape scale response. and may be even more serious in freshwater and the ocean. .

Current challenges and future directions • Move from maintaining current biodiversity towards restoring biodiversity that has already been lost • However. restoration is much more expensive and much less likely to succeed than is preservation of biodiversity before impacts occur • A few ambitious plans for landscape level restoration have already been developed (wetlands) .

Identifying Priority Landscapes and Seascapes http://www.youtube.youtube.com/watch?v=0nGYnpWs-uU .com/watch?v=l7PkZu8oT1I Restoring Southern California's Wetlands http://www.

Outline • Global biodiversity conservation planning and priorities • Conservation planning and priorities on the ground • Coda: the completion of conservation planning .

plus selected invertebrate groups. • Measurement and mapping of the continuous global surface of seascape and landscape scale ecological processes necessary to retain these species and sites into the future. • Iterative identification of key biodiversity areas.Future directions for conservation planning • The completion and continuous updating of IUCN Red List assessments of all vertebrate and plant species. . based on these data. representing the full set of sites of global biodiversity conservation significance.

and of the costs and benefits of conserving them. continuously updated access to these datasets. sites. and prioritization. • Free. and sea/landscapes. electronic.Future directions for conservation planning • Continuous measurement and mapping of the threats to these species. . and to tools for their interpretation. planning.