NCEAS Project 2002

Designing and assessing the viability of nature reserve systems at regional scales: Integration of optimization, Heuristic and dynamic models

  • Sandy J. Andelman

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group24th—25th July 1997Participant List  
Graduate Student25th September 1997—30th September 1998Participant List  
Working Group12th—16th October 1997Participant List  
Working Group5th—21st December 1997Participant List  
Working Group26th—26th January 1998Participant List  
Working Group16th—25th March 1998Participant List  
Working Group30th March—6th April 1998Participant List  
Meeting23rd June—4th July 1998Participant List  
Working Group24th June—7th July 1998Participant List  
Graduate Student8th—22nd July 1998Participant List  
Graduate Student1st—31st August 1998Participant List  

Members Only Area

A current challenge in biodiversity conservation is to develop effective methods for setting conservation priorities at multiple geographic and spatial scales. Numerous paradigms have been offered for the identification and prioritization of sites for conserving biological diversity at a variety of scales (i.e., global, national, regional, local): e.g., hotspots (Myers 1988; 1990); rarity (Rabinowitz et al. 1986; Master 1991); GAP Analysis (Scott et al. 1987; Edwards et al. 1993; Scott et al. 1993; Edwards and Scott 1994); representativeness (Margules et al. 1988; Pressey and Nicholls 1989; Bedward et al. 1992; Belbin 1993; Margules et al. 1994; Awimbo and Norton 1996; etc.). However, practical application of these these models to guide biodiversity conservation and management activities on the ground (Vane-Wright 1978; Kareiva 1993; Margules and Redhead 1995; Edwards et al. 1996) can be challenging (e.g., Prendergast et al. 1993; Lawton et al. 1994; Williams et al., 1996; Dobson et al. 1997). For example, the theoretical underpinnings of different site selection strategies are often implicit, but not stated, leading to misunderstandings of implementation requirements; or the data available for a given area may be insufficient to apply a particular model. In other cases, the models may be applied inappropriately (e.g., in cases where the spatial distribution or other parameters of the data violate critical assumptions of the models).

Biodiversity conservation efforts worldwide increasingly emphasize a regional or ecoregional framework for biodviersity inventory and monitoring, as well as for the identification and prioritization of potential conservation sites (e.g., Dinerstein et al. 1995; Miller 1996; The Nature Conservancy 1996; Saunier and Meganck 1996). Within this framework, actual conservation investments will be influenced by both the choice of data sets for analysis and the choice of site selection strategies (e.g., heuristic vs. optimization; representativeness vs. rarity; complementarity vs. redundancy, etc.). Therefore, we propose to synthesize several existing large regional spatial datasets (for the Intermountain Semidesert ecoregion of the western U.S., encompassing parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California, Utah, Wyoming and Montana) (Bailey 1994) as a means of exploring a set of questions which will inform both theoretical and practical aspects of biodiversity conservation.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Report or White Paper Andelman, Sandy J. 1997. Designing and Assessing the Viability of Nature Reserve Systems at Regional Scales: Integration of Optimization, Heurisitc and Dynamic Models - Report of Progress and Activities. (Online version)
Journal Article Andelman, Sandy J.; Willig, Michael R. 2003. Present patterns and future prospects for biodiversity in the Western Hemisphere. Ecology Letters. Vol: 6. Pages 818-824.