Focal-species approaches provide tractable frameworks for structuring site-based conservation, but explanations of how and why focal species are chosen are often lacking. This paper outlines the rationale and selection criteria for one such strategy: the “Landscape Species Approach.” We define five criteria for selecting landscape species (area requirements, heterogeneity, ecological function, vulnerability, and socioeconomic significance) and illustrate the process using data from two landscapes, the northwestern Bolivian Andes and northern Congo. Candidate species from each site were scored and suites of complementary landscape species were assembled. Like all focal-species approaches (and indeed all conservation planning), this approach is not without biases. However, by making our assumptions explicit and allowing evaluation of the inherent biases, we attempt to provide a transparent, replicable method for identifying species around which to structure site-based conservation (landscape species). The process is also useful for identifying data gaps, ranking threats, and setting research priorities. Clear justification and selection criteria should accompany any focal species strategy to allow methods to be replicated, tested, and refined.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2004
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