Methods for identifying spatially referenced conservation needs and opportunities

Sykora-Bodie, Seth T., Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Adams, Vanessa M., Gurney, Georgina G., Cleary, Jesse, Pressey, Robert L., and Ban, Natalie C. (2021) Methods for identifying spatially referenced conservation needs and opportunities. Biological Conservation, 260. 109138.

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Protected area coverage is expanding rapidly in response to threats such as habitat degradation, resource overexploitation, and climate change. Given limited resources, conservation scientists have developed systematic methods for identifying where it is most efficient to protect biodiversity. To improve the outcomes of protected areas, planners have also sought to incorporate non-ecological data into protected area design, including data on conservation opportunity. Our study expands this literature using expert elicitation, participatory mapping, and a case study of the Southern Ocean to identify areas of conservation need and opportunity. We consider the spatial variation between need and opportunity, examine how socioeconomic and political factors influence the selection of areas, and investigate barriers to reaching consensus and establishing marine protected areas along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. We found that, while experts readily identified areas of conservation need and opportunity, most did not easily distinguish between the different types of opportunity proposed in the literature (existing, potential, and fleeting). Geographically, there were significant areas of overlap between need and opportunity, but areas of need were more restricted and specific, whereas areas of opportunity were more expansive and general. Biophysical and socioeconomic factors were most important in motivating the selection of areas of opportunity, followed by geopolitical and then scientific factors. Our approach to data collection and planning can provide insights into tradeoffs between ecological needs and opportunities for taking action, and therefore aid in identifying and reducing barriers to designating effective marine protected areas.

Item ID: 69896
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: Antarctica; CCAMLR; Conservation opportunity; Conservation planning; Expert elicitation; High seas; Marine conservation; Marine protected areas; Participatory mapping; Southern Ocean
Copyright Information: Pulished Version: © Elsevier. Accepted version may be made access after a 24 month embargo under a CC BY-NC-ND license.
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Duke University, Endeavour Research Fellowship Programme, Chateaubriand STEM Research Fellowship
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 02:15
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1804 Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments > 180403 Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
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