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Conservation design: Where do we go from here?

Thogmartin, W.E., Fitzgerald, J.A. and Jones, M.T., 2009.Conservation design: Where do we go from here?, in Rich, T.D., C. Arizmendi, D. Demarest and C. Thompson [eds.]. Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People. Proceedings of the 4th International Partners in Flight Conference, 13-16 February 2008. McAllen, TX. Partners in Flight, p.426-436.


Conservation design entails 1) characterization and assessment of a landscape’s capacity to support wildlife, 2) predictive modeling and mapping of species population response to this landscape, 3) assessment of conservation opportunities given those predicted patterns in occurrence and abundance, 4) strategic enhancement of landscapes to achieve conservation goals, and then 5) subsequent monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the conservation actions that follow from this process truly lead to gains for wildlife and wildlands. Conservation design should recognize the dynamical nature of populations and the landscapes they inhabit. It should also balance needs of individual priority species against those of species aggregates. Ideally, aspects of this process should generate recommendations for management which recognize future trends in landscape conditions. Each of these endeavors is influenced by issues associated with scale: temporal, spatial, and thematic. The future of conservation design will likely include shifts from static, pattern-based models of species habitat response to dynamical projections of process-based models, with commensurate recognition of the uncertainty that accompanies those projections.


dynamic models of species distribution, multi-species prioritization, optimal conservation design, strategic habitat conservation

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