Optimising Different Types of Biodiversity Coverage of Protected Areas with a Case Study Using Himalayan Galliformes (2016)

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International targets have committed governments to expanding the global protected area (PA) network to 17% of the terrestrial surface by 2020. Optimising PA placement in the landscape is challenging due to a poor knowledge of biodiversity distribution and multiple definitions of conservation value. We explore these two issues using a case study of a highly threatened bird Order in a region of conservation concern where PA network effectiveness for biodiversity has not been formally explored previously. To determine if the existing PA network protects the most important areas for 24 species of Himalayan Galliformes, we use a novel method to compare the current network placement to results produced from Zonation prioritisation software and modelled species distributions. Specifically, we identify areas of high species richness and then weight maps by three different species specific conservation values. The current PA network captures ranges poorly. We found statistically significantly poorer fits between the optimal and the existing placement of the Himalayan PA network for Zonation results that were: (i) unweighted; (ii) weighted by Red List score; and (iii) weighted by endemism to the Himalaya. Across these and two other Zonation results, the placement of the optimal PA network covered 58% more of Galliformes distributions than the existing network. We advocate some refinements to the existing PA network to maximise Galliformes coverage and suggest that our method could be used to model the optimal PA network for a wide range of species and/or regions, something which will support the assessment and attainment of CBD targets.
Year: 2016
Language: English
In: Biological Conservation, 196 : 22-30 p.

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 Record created 2016-03-02, last modified 2016-03-02