Assessing prioritization measures for a private land conservation program in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region

Kemink, Kaylan M., Pressey, Robert L., Adams, Vanessa M., Nolte, Christoph, Olimb, Sarah K., Healey, Aidan M., Liu, Boyan, Frerichs, Todd, and Renner, Randy (2023) Assessing prioritization measures for a private land conservation program in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region. Conservation Science and Practice, 5 (7). e12939.

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Private land conservation has become an important tool for protecting biodiversity and habitat, but methods for prioritizing and scheduling conservation on private land are still being developed. While return on investment methods have been suggested as a potential path forward, the different processes linking private landscapes to the socioeconomic systems in which they are embedded create unique challenges for scheduling conservation with this approach. We investigated a range of scheduling approaches within a return on investment framework for breeding waterfowl and broods in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Current conservation targeting for waterfowl in the region focuses mostly on the distribution and abundance of breeding waterfowl. We tested whether MaxGain approaches for waterfowl conservation differed from MinLoss approaches in terms of return on investment and which approach performed best in avoiding loss of waterfowl and broods separately. We also examined variation in results based upon the temporal scale of the abundance layers used for input and compared the region's current scheduling approach with results from our simulations. Our results suggested that MinLoss was the most efficient scheduling approach for both breeding waterfowl and broods and that using just breeding waterfowl to target areas for conservation programs might cause organizations to overlook important areas for broods, particularly over shorter timespans. The higher efficiency of MinLoss approaches in our simulations also indicated that incorporating probability of wetland drainage into decision-making improved the overall return on investment. We recommend that future conservation scheduling for easements in the region and for private land conservation in general include some form of return on investment or cost-effective analysis to make conservation more transparent.

Item ID: 79056
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2578-4854
Keywords: conservation planning, MaxGain, MinLoss, return on investment, waterfowl
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Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Conservation Science and Practice published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2023 05:08
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190207 Land policy @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180604 Rehabilitation or conservation of terrestrial environments @ 30%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180307 Rehabilitation or conservation of fresh, ground and surface water environments @ 30%
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