On the west coast of Newfoundland (Canada) about 40% of the provincially rare plant species are not protected within the system of three national parks and two ecological reserves existing in the region. This study examines how heuristic algorithms can be used for selecting areas filling this gap while minimizing potential land use conflicts. One algorithm selected 78 areas of 1 km 2 each, representing the minimum set of areas that includes all species at least once. Only 13 out of these 78 areas were selected from existing protected areas; therefore, 65 would have to be added to this system to achieve full representation. A second algorithm reduced this number to 55 by seeking, from the beginning, only species not included in existing protected areas. A third algorithm constrained the choice of complementary areas to those that would have the lowest potential for conflicting land use (CLU). With this algorithm, however, full representation of rare plants within protected areas would need 79 areas instead of 55, i.e. trying to minimize the number of potentially conflicting areas entails selecting a significantly larger number of areas to achieve the same conservation goal. An index such as the CLU proposed here adds to the value of heuristic selection algorithms as indicative tools for planning a network of protected areas.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 1998
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