Data collected by the Gap Analysis Program in the state of Idaho (U.S.A.) are used to prioritize the selection of locations for conservation action and research. Set coverage and integer programming algorithms provide a sequence of localities that maximize the number of species or vegetation classes represented at each step. Richness maps of vegetation cover class diversity, terrestrial vertebrate species diversity (“hot spot analysis”), endangered, threatened, and candidate species diversity, and unprotected vertebrate species diversity (“gap analysis”), when prioritized, show a rapid accumulation of species as more localities are chosen for terrestrial vertebrates and unprotected vertebrates. Gap analysis identifies four target areas (“gaps”) that include 79 of the 83 vertebrate species not currently protected. Accumulation of vegetation cover classes and endangered, threatened, and candidate species is much slower. Sweep analysis is used to determine how well prioritizing on one component of diversity accumulates other components. Endangered, threatened, and candidate species do not sweep total vertebrates as well as unprotected vertebrates do, but are better than vegetation classes. Total vertebrates sweep endangered, threatened, and candidate species better than unprotected vertebrates do, which in turn are better than vegetation classes. We emphasize that prioritization must be part of conservation efforts at multiple scales and that prioritization points out important localities where more detailed work mast be undertaken.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1996
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