Methods and workflow for spatial conservation prioritization using Zonation

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Lehtomäki, Joona, and Moilanen, Atte

Spatial conservation prioritization concerns the effective allocation of conservation action. Its stages include development of an ecologically based model of conservation value, data pre-processing, spatial prioritization analysis, and interpretation of results for conservation action. Here we investigate the details of each stage for analyses done using the Zonation prioritization framework. While there is much literature about analytical methods implemented in Zonation, there is only scattered information available about what happens before and after the computational analysis. Here we fill this information gap by summarizing the pre-analysis and post-analysis stages of the Zonation framework. Concerning the entire process, we summarize the full workflow and list examples of operational best-case, worst-case, and typical scenarios for each analysis stage. We discuss resources needed in different analysis stages. We also discuss benefits, disadvantages, and risks involved in the application of spatial prioritization from the perspective of different stakeholders. Concerning pre-analysis stages, we explain the development of the ecological model and discuss the setting of priority weights and connectivity responses. We also explain practical aspects of data pre-processing and the post-processing interpretation of results for different conservation objectives. This work facilitates well-informed design and application of Zonation analyses for the purpose of spatial conservation planning. It should be useful for both scientists working on conservation related research as well as for practitioners looking for useful tools for conservation resource allocation.


Lehtomäki, J., and A. Moilanen. 2013. Methods and workflow for spatial conservation prioritization using Zonation. Environmental Modelling & Software 47:128–137.