Efficient expansion of global protected areas requires simultaneous planning for species and ecosystems

Polak, Tal, Watson, James, Fuller, Richard, Joseph, Liana, Martin, Tara, Possingham, Hugh, Venter, Oscar, and Carwardine, Josie (2015) Efficient expansion of global protected areas requires simultaneous planning for species and ecosystems. Royal Society Open Science, 2. 150107.

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)'s strategic plan advocates the use of environmental surrogates, such as ecosystems, as a basis for planning where new protected areas should be placed. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of this ecosystem-based planning approach to adequately capture threatened species in protected area networks is unknown. We tested the application of this approach in Australia according to the nation's CBD-inspired goals for expansion of the national protected area system. We set targets for ecosystems (10% of the extent of each ecosystem) and threatened species (variable extents based on persistence requirements for each species) and then measured the total land area required and opportunity cost of meeting those targets independently, sequentially and simultaneously. We discover that an ecosystem-based approach will not ensure the adequate representation of threatened species in protected areas. Planning simultaneously for species and ecosystem targets delivered the most efficient outcomes for both sets of targets, while planning first for ecosystems and then filling the gaps to meet species targets was the most inefficient conservation strategy. Our analysis highlights the pitfalls of pursuing goals for species and ecosystems non-cooperatively and has significant implications for nations aiming to meet their CBD mandated protected area obligations.

Item ID: 44378
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2054-5703
Additional Information:

© 2015 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP), ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (ARC-CoEED), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: NERP TP701709, ARC-CoEED CE110001014, ARC FL130100090, ARC DP140100733, ARC DECRA DE140101624
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 01:45
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 100%
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