Case studies of conservation plans that incorporate geodiversity

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Anderson, M. G., Comer, P. J., Beier, P., Lawler, J. J., Schloss, C. A., Buttrick, S., Albano, C.M. and Faith, D. P.
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Geodiversity has been used as a surrogate for biodiversity when species locations are unknown, and this utility can be extended to situations where species locations are in flux. Recently, scientists have designed conservation networks that aim to explicitly represent the range of geophysical environments, identifying a network of physical stages that could sustain biodiversity while allowing for change in species composition in response to climate change. Because there is no standard approach to designing such networks, we compiled 8 case studies illustrating a variety of ways scientists have approached the challenge. These studies show how geodiversity has been partitioned and used to develop site portfolios and connectivity designs; how geodiversity-based portfolios compare with those derived from species and communities; and how the selection and combination of variables influences the results. Collectively, they suggest 4 key steps when using geodiversity to augment traditional biodiversity-based conservation planning: create land units from species-relevant variables combined in an ecologically meaningful way; represent land units in a logical spatial configuration and integrate with species locations when possible; apply selection criteria to individual sites to ensure they are appropriate for conservation; and develop connectivity among sites to maintain movements and processes. With these considerations, conservationists can design more effective site portfolios to ensure the lasting conservation of biodiversity under a changing climate.


Anderson, M. G., P. J. Comer, P. Beier, J. J. Lawler, C. A. Schloss, S. Buttrick, C. M. Albano, and D. P. Faith. 2015. Case studies of conservation plans that incorporate geodiversity. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12503