Advancing land-sea conservation planning: integrating modelling of catchments, land-use change, and river plumes to prioritise catchment management and protection

Álvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Pressey, Robert L., Ban, Natalie C., and Brodie, Jon (2015) Advancing land-sea conservation planning: integrating modelling of catchments, land-use change, and river plumes to prioritise catchment management and protection. PLoS ONE, 10 (12). e0145574. pp. 1-26.

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Abstract

Human-induced changes to river loads of nutrients and sediments pose a significant threat to marine ecosystems. Ongoing land-use change can further increase these loads, and amplify the impacts of land-based threats on vulnerable marine ecosystems. Consequently, there is a need to assess these threats and prioritise actions to mitigate their impacts. A key question regarding prioritisation is whether actions in catchments to maintain coastal-marine water quality can be spatially congruent with actions for other management objectives, such as conserving terrestrial biodiversity. In selected catchments draining into the Gulf of California, Mexico, we employed Land Change Modeller to assess the vulnerability of areas with native vegetation to conversion into crops, pasture, and urban areas. We then used SedNet, a catchment modelling tool, to map the sources and estimate pollutant loads delivered to the Gulf by these catchments. Following these analyses, we used modelled river plumes to identify marine areas likely influenced by land-based pollutants. Finally, we prioritised areas for catchment management based on objectives for conservation of terrestrial biodiversity and objectives for water quality that recognised links between pollutant sources and affected marine areas. Our objectives for coastal-marine water quality were to reduce sediment and nutrient discharges from anthropic areas, and minimise future increases in coastal sedimentation and eutrophication. Our objectives for protection of terrestrial biodiversity covered species of vertebrates. We used Marxan, a conservation planning tool, to prioritise interventions and explore spatial differences in priorities for both objectives. Notable differences in the distributions of land values for terrestrial biodiversity and coastal-marine water quality indicated the likely need for trade-offs between catchment management objectives. However, there were priority areas that contributed to both sets of objectives. Our study demonstrates a practical approach to integrating models of catchments, land-use change, and river plumes with conservation planning software to inform prioritisation of catchment management.

Item ID: 42235
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Keywords: catchment model; river plume; land use change model; Gulf of California; Mexico; Marxan; land-sea planning; cross-system threat; land-based pollution; erosion; biodiversity conservation; trade-off; systematic conservation planning; marine spatial planning; integrated catchment management; integrated coastal zone management
Additional Information:

© 2015 Álvarez-Romero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Technología, Mexico (CONACYT), Secretaría de Educación Pública, Mexico (SEP), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2016 07:18
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 30%
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