Reorienting Systematic Conservation Assessment for Effective Conservation Planning

Reorienting Systematic Conservation Assessment for Effective Conservation Planning Abstract: Systematic conservation assessment (an information‐gathering and prioritization process used to select the spatial foci of conservation initiatives) is often considered vital to conservation‐planning efforts, yet published assessments have rarely resulted in conservation action. Conservation assessments may lead more directly to effective conservation action if they are reoriented to inform conservation decisions. Toward this goal, we evaluated the relative priority for conservation of 7 sites proposed for the first forest reserves in the Union of the Comoros, an area with high levels of endemism and rapidly changing land uses in the western Indian Ocean. Through the analysis of 30 indicator variables measured at forest sites and nearby villages, we assessed 3 prioritization criteria at each site: conservation value, threat to loss of biological diversity from human activity, and feasibility of reserve establishment. Our results indicated 2 sites, Yiméré and Hassera‐Ndrengé, were priorities for conservation action. Our approach also informed the development of an implementation strategy and enabled an evaluation of previously unexplored relations among prioritization criteria. Our experience suggests that steps taken to ensure the closer involvement of practitioners, include a broader range of social data, encourage stakeholder participation, and consider the feasibility of conservation action can improve the relevance of assessments for conservation planning, strengthen the scientific basis for conservation decisions, and result in a more realistic evaluation of conservation alternatives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
©2011 Society for Conservation Biology
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
DOI
10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01697.x
pmid
21771077
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: Systematic conservation assessment (an information‐gathering and prioritization process used to select the spatial foci of conservation initiatives) is often considered vital to conservation‐planning efforts, yet published assessments have rarely resulted in conservation action. Conservation assessments may lead more directly to effective conservation action if they are reoriented to inform conservation decisions. Toward this goal, we evaluated the relative priority for conservation of 7 sites proposed for the first forest reserves in the Union of the Comoros, an area with high levels of endemism and rapidly changing land uses in the western Indian Ocean. Through the analysis of 30 indicator variables measured at forest sites and nearby villages, we assessed 3 prioritization criteria at each site: conservation value, threat to loss of biological diversity from human activity, and feasibility of reserve establishment. Our results indicated 2 sites, Yiméré and Hassera‐Ndrengé, were priorities for conservation action. Our approach also informed the development of an implementation strategy and enabled an evaluation of previously unexplored relations among prioritization criteria. Our experience suggests that steps taken to ensure the closer involvement of practitioners, include a broader range of social data, encourage stakeholder participation, and consider the feasibility of conservation action can improve the relevance of assessments for conservation planning, strengthen the scientific basis for conservation decisions, and result in a more realistic evaluation of conservation alternatives.

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2011

References

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