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A new framework of spatial targeting for single-species conservation planning

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  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
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Abstract and Figures

Context Organisations acting to conserve and protect species across large spatial scales prioritise to optimise use of resources. Spatial conservation prioritization tools typically focus on identifying areas containing species groups of interest, with few tools used to identify the best areas for single-species conservation, in particular, to conserve currently widespread but declining species. Objective A single-species prioritization framework, based on temporal and spatial patterns of occupancy and abundance, was developed to spatially prioritize conservation action for widespread species by identifying smaller areas to work within to achieve predefined conservation objectives. Methods We demonstrate our approach for 29 widespread bird species in the UK, using breeding bird atlas data from two periods to define distribution, relative abundance and change in relative abundance. We selected occupied 10-km squares with abundance trends that matched species conservation objectives relating to maintaining or increasing population size or range, and then identified spatial clusters of squares for each objective using a Getis-Ord-Gi* or near neighbour analysis. Results For each species, the framework identified clusters of 20-km squares that enabled us to identify small areas in which species recovery action could be prioritized. Conclusions Our approach identified a proportion of species’ ranges to prioritize for species recovery. This approach is a relatively quick process that can be used to inform single-species conservation for any taxa if sufficiently fine-scale occupancy and abundance information is available for two or more time periods. This is a relatively simple first step for planning single-species focussed conservation to help optimise resource use.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
A new framework of spatial targeting for single-species
conservation planning
Malcolm Burgess .Richard Gregory .Jeremy Wilson .Simon Gillings .
Andy Evans .Kenna Chisholm .Adrian Southern .Mark Eaton
Received: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 October 2019 / Published online: 22 October 2019
ÓSpringer Nature B.V. 2019
Abstract
Context Organisations acting to conserve and pro-
tect species across large spatial scales prioritise to
optimise use of resources. Spatial conservation prior-
itization tools typically focus on identifying areas
containing species groups of interest, with few tools
used to identify the best areas for single-species
conservation, in particular, to conserve currently
widespread but declining species.
Objective A single-species prioritization frame-
work, based on temporal and spatial patterns of
occupancy and abundance, was developed to spatially
prioritize conservation action for widespread species
by identifying smaller areas to work within to achieve
predefined conservation objectives.
Methods We demonstrate our approach for 29
widespread bird species in the UK, using breeding
bird atlas data from two periods to define distribution,
relative abundance and change in relative abundance.
We selected occupied 10-km squares with abundance
trends that matched species conservation objectives
relating to maintaining or increasing population size or
range, and then identified spatial clusters of squares for
each objective using a Getis-Ord-Gi* or near neigh-
bour analysis.
Results For each species, the framework identified
clusters of 20-km squares that enabled us to identify
small areas in which species recovery action could be
prioritized.
Conclusions Our approach identified a proportion of
species’ ranges to prioritize for species recovery. This
approach is a relatively quick process that can be used
to inform single-species conservation for any taxa if
sufficiently fine-scale occupancy and abundance
information is available for two or more time periods.
This is a relatively simple first step for planning single-
species focussed conservation to help optimise
resource use.
Keywords Spatial conservation prioritization
Conservation intervention Widespread species
Isolated population Bird atlas Abundance
Electronic supplementary material The online version of
this article (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-019-00919-3) con-
tains supplementary material, which is available to authorized
users.
M. Burgess (&)R. Gregory M. Eaton
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, The Lodge,
Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: Malcolm.Burgess@rspb.org.uk
J. Wilson
RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, RSPB Scotland,
Edinburgh, UK
S. Gillings
British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford,
Norfolk, UK
A. Evans A. Southern
RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK
K. Chisholm
RSPB, Etive House, Beechwood Park, Inverness, UK
123
Landscape Ecol (2019) 34:2765–2778
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-019-00919-3(0123456789().,-volV)(0123456789().,-volV)
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... In the conservation context, this translates to 1) retention -maintaining extant populations; 2) recovery -consolidating habitats and/or increasing population sizes; and 3) restoration -facilitating range expansion, recolonisation of putative historic range areas, and connectivity between populations, thus ensuring long-term ecological, demographic, and genetic viability. As a matter of course, these actions need to be coupled with assessment of and reduction in anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic limiting factors, in tandem with continuous monitoring of population status and threats (Williams et al. 2002, Burgess et al. 2019. ...
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