1 <h5>Introduction</h5> Conversion and fragmentation of natural land cover by humans is cited as one of the main factors leading to the overall decline of biological diversity and the extinction of many plant and animal species (e.g. Wilcox and Murphy, 1985; Gentry, 1986; Noss and Csuti, 1994; Noss et al., 1995 ). In response, many government and non-government programs aim to protect habitat as a strategy to conserve species. The resources available to protect or restore habitat, however, are limited. Not all habitats can or will be protected or restored. It is important, therefore, to target habitat protection efforts towards areas that give the best chance of conserving a wide array of species. Methods for choosing networks of natural areas to conserve species have become more sophisticated in recent years. Instead of choosing scenic areas, often with limited floral or faunal diversity, or hot spots, methods that select complementary sets of natural areas have been used to represent a large number of species in a limited number of sites (e.g. Kirkpatrick, 1983; Ackery and Vane-Wright, 1984; Margules et al., 1988; Pressey and Nicholls, 1989; Rebelo and Seigfried, 1990; Bedward et al., 1992; Nichols and Margules, 1993 ). Recently,
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