Abstract:

Learning from nature and learning from people: using a diversity of approaches to identify priority areas for conservation.

Robert J Smith┬╣, Bruno A. Nhancale, Peter S. Goodman

┬╣DICE, University of Kent, Marlowe Building, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, UK

Current funding levels are insufficient to prevent biodiversity loss, so conservationists have long recognised the benefits of focusing resources in a few key areas. Scientists have responded by developing transparent and efficient approaches for identifying priority areas and South Africa has been a world-leader in turning this research into practice. Moreover, South African-based researchers have taken a reflective approach to their work and increasingly acknowledge that simply mapping the distribution of biodiversity is not enough to achieve success on the ground. Instead, they recognise the need to include feasibility-based factors in the prioritisation process but that such conservation opportunities change over time. In an attempt to explain these different facets of conservation planning, here we introduce a typology that divides prioritisation into three types: (1) statutory, which are generally target-based and have legitimacy because they are underpinned by government legislation; (2) irreplaceability, which are often threshold-based and have legitimacy because they seek to identify globally or nationally important sites; (3) opportunistic, which are generally less targeted but take advantage of local support for specific conservation actions. Whilst often overlapping in scope, we argue that conservationists should encourage all three types as this broadens the likelihood of success. We also argue any prioritisation type benefits from being embedded in a systematic conservation planning approach, as this helps identify representation gaps and build a broader conservation vision.

Presentation Topic

Learning from nature and learning from people: using a diversity of approaches to identify priority areas for conservation.

 

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Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, UK

 

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