Raising the bar for systematic conservation planning

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Langford, William T., Gordon, Ascelin, Bastin, Lucy, Bekassy, Sarah A., White, Matt D., and Newell, Graeme

Systematic conservation planning (SCP) represents a significant step toward cost-effective, transparent allocation of resources for biodiversity conservation. However, research demonstrates important consequences of uncertainties in SCP and of basing methods on simplified circumstances involving few real-world complexities. Current research often relies on single case studies with unknown forms and amounts of uncertainty as well as low statistical power for generalizing results. Consequently, conservation managers have little evidence for the true performance of conservation planning methods in their own complex, uncertain applications. To build effective and reliable methods in SCP, there is a need for more challenging and integrated testing of their robustness to uncertainty and complexity, and much greater emphasis on generalization to real-world situations.


Langford, W. T., A. Gordon, L. Bastin, S. A. Bekessy, M. D. White, and G. Newell. 2011. Raising the bar for systematic conservation planning. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 26:634–640.