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Efficient Conservation in a Utility-Maximization Framework

Frank W Davis, University of California
Christopher Costello, University of California
David Stoms, University of California

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Abstract

Systematic planning for biodiversity conservation is being conducted at scales ranging from global to national to regional. The prevailing planning paradigm is to identify the minimum land allocations needed to reach specified conservation targets or maximize the amount of conservation accomplished under an area or budget constraint. We propose a more general formulation for setting conservation priorities that involves goal setting, assessing the current conservation system, developing a scenario of future biodiversity given the current conservation system, and allocating available conservation funds to alter that scenario so as to maximize future biodiversity. Under this new formulation for setting conservation priorities, the value of a site depends on resource quality, threats to resource quality, and costs. This planning approach is designed to support collaborative processes and negotiation among competing interest groups. We demonstrate these ideas with a case study of the Sierra Nevada bioregion of California.

Key words

biodiversity; Sierra Nevada; California; conservation; cost-effectiveness; irreplaceability; planning; retention; scenario
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087