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Efficient Conservation in a Utility-Maximization Framework

Frank W Davis, University of California
Christopher Costello, University of California
David Stoms, University of California


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Systematic planning for biodiversity conservation is being conducted at scales ranging from global to national to regional. The prevailing planning paradigm is to identify the minimum land allocations needed to reach specified conservation targets or maximize the amount of conservation accomplished under an area or budget constraint. We propose a more general formulation for setting conservation priorities that involves goal setting, assessing the current conservation system, developing a scenario of future biodiversity given the current conservation system, and allocating available conservation funds to alter that scenario so as to maximize future biodiversity. Under this new formulation for setting conservation priorities, the value of a site depends on resource quality, threats to resource quality, and costs. This planning approach is designed to support collaborative processes and negotiation among competing interest groups. We demonstrate these ideas with a case study of the Sierra Nevada bioregion of California.

Key words

biodiversity; Sierra Nevada; California; conservation; cost-effectiveness; irreplaceability; planning; retention; scenario

Copyright © 2006 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087