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      Conserving Biodiversity Efficiently: What to Do, Where, and When

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Conservation priority-setting schemes have not yet combined geographic priorities with a framework that can guide the allocation of funds among alternate conservation actions that address specific threats. We develop such a framework, and apply it to 17 of the world's 39 Mediterranean ecoregions. This framework offers an improvement over approaches that only focus on land purchase or species richness and do not account for threats. We discover that one could protect many more plant and vertebrate species by investing in a sequence of conservation actions targeted towards specific threats, such as invasive species control, land acquisition, and off-reserve management, than by relying solely on acquiring land for protected areas. Applying this new framework will ensure investment in actions that provide the most cost-effective outcomes for biodiversity conservation. This will help to minimise the misallocation of scarce conservation resources.

          Author Summary

          Given limited funds for biodiversity conservation, we need to carefully prioritise where funds are spent. Various schemes have been developed to set priorities for conservation spending among different countries and regions. However, there is no framework for guiding the allocation of funds among alternative conservation actions that address specific threats. Here, we develop such a framework, and apply it to 17 of the world's 39 Mediterranean-climate ecoregions. We discover that one could protect many more plant and vertebrate species by investing in a sequence of conservation actions targeted towards specific threats, such as invasive species control and fire management, rather than by relying solely on acquiring land for protected areas. Applying this new framework will ensure investment in actions that provide the most cost-effective outcomes for biodiversity conservation.

          Abstract

          A new framework applied to 17 of the world's Mediterranean ecoregions reveals that investing in a sequence of conservation actions targeted towards specific threats will protect more species than just acquiring land for protected areas.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Prioritizing global conservation efforts.

          One of the most pressing issues facing the global conservation community is how to distribute limited resources between regions identified as priorities for biodiversity conservation. Approaches such as biodiversity hotspots, endemic bird areas and ecoregions are used by international organizations to prioritize conservation efforts globally. Although identifying priority regions is an important first step in solving this problem, it does not indicate how limited resources should be allocated between regions. Here we formulate how to allocate optimally conservation resources between regions identified as priorities for conservation--the 'conservation resource allocation problem'. Stochastic dynamic programming is used to find the optimal schedule of resource allocation for small problems but is intractable for large problems owing to the "curse of dimensionality". We identify two easy-to-use and easy-to-interpret heuristics that closely approximate the optimal solution. We also show the importance of both correctly formulating the problem and using information on how investment returns change through time. Our conservation resource allocation approach can be applied at any spatial scale. We demonstrate the approach with an example of optimal resource allocation among five priority regions in Wallacea and Sundaland, the transition zone between Asia and Australasia.
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            Climate change and Australia: Trends, projections and impacts

             Lesley Hughes (2003)
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              Species Diversity in Space and Time.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                September 2007
                21 August 2007
                : 5
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [1 ] The Ecology Centre, School of Integrative Biology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia
                [2 ] Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America
                [3 ] The Nature Conservancy, San Diego, California, United States of America
                [4 ] The Nature Conservancy, San Francisco, California, United States of America
                [5 ] Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America
                [6 ] Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Stellenbosch, South Africa
                [7 ] School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia
                [8 ] Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Biodiversty, Santiago, Chile
                [9 ] Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
                [10 ] Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Santiago, Chile
                [11 ] National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America
                [12 ] Department of Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
                [13 ] Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
                [14 ] School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia
                [15 ] The Nature Conservancy, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
                [16 ] Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring Program, Conservation International, Washington, D.C., United States of America
                [17 ] The Nature Conservancy, Australia Program, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
                [18 ] Dipartimenti di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Università la Sapienza, Rome, Italy
                Imperial College London, United Kingdom
                Author notes
                * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kwilson@ 123456tnc.org
                Article
                06-PLBI-RA-1584R4 plbi-05-09-07
                10.1371/journal.pbio.0050223
                1950771
                17713985
                Copyright: © 2007 Wilson et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 12
                Categories
                Research Article
                Ecology
                Ecology
                Ecology
                Vertebrates
                Plants
                Custom metadata
                Wilson KA, Underwood EC, Morrison SA, Klausmeyer KR, Murdoch WW, et al. (2007) Conserving biodiversity efficiently: What to do, where and when. PLoS Biol 5(9): e223. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050223

                Life sciences

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