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Australian National University (2000)

Systematic techniques to locate reserves for biodiversity conservation : including a case study on the conservation of floristic diversity in East Gippsland

Rosauer, Daniel

Titre : Systematic techniques to locate reserves for biodiversity conservation : including a case study on the conservation of floristic diversity in East Gippsland

Auteur : Rosauer, Daniel

Université de soutenance : Australian National University

Grade : Master of Environmental Science 2000

Résumé partiel
Changes in land use, and resulting fragmentation and loss of habitat, are leading to significant loss of biodiversity. Maintaining systems of reserves for in-situ conservation is a key strategy to stem biodiversity loss, but establishing reserves is often a difficult social and political process involving decisions between a range of alternative priorities for land use. Given limitations on availability of land for reservation, and the urgent need to establish reserves in many areas, it is important that reserve proposals are based on a systematic analysis to identify places which will contribute most to long term maintenance of biodiversity. The prevailing approach to this problem is to identify a mappable surrogate for biodiversity, and then select areas which are representative of the elements of variation in that surrogate. The mCN recommends that 10% of each such element be protected. This paper examines the use of surrogates in reserve selection, and describes the development of systematic, computer-supported algorithms which use ecological data to identify areas for a representative reserve system. In Australia, the current surrogate of choice for reserve design is the vegetation class. It is used in a variety of forms, which generally combine information on floristics, dominant species and physical environmental regimes to define and map classes. While this approach is widely used, there has been little published evaluation of how well a representative sample of vegetation classes encompasses the underlying biodiversity that the reserves aim to protect. For this paper, a desktop study was performed, using environmental data for a region of East Gippsland, Victoria. Potential reserve areas were selected to create a reserve system to meet the IUCN target of 10% representation for each vegetation class in the region. A range of reserve options which met this target were generated, and then evaluated against a large flora survey dataset to assess how well these reserves would encompass the floristic diversity of the region. A simple indicator of adjacency was also used, so that areas selected to meet the targets for representation would do so while minimising the degree of fragmentation of the reserve system.

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