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Prioritizing multiple-use landscapes for conservation: methods for large multi-species planning problems

Atte Moilanen1,*, Aldina M. A. Franco2, Regan I. Early2, Richard Fox3, Brendan Wintle4 and Chris D. Thomas2

1 Metapopulation Research Group, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, PO Box 65,

00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

2 Department of Biology, University of York, York YO10 5YW, UK

3 Butterfly Conservation, Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5QP, UK

4 Department of Botany, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

ABSTRACT

Across large parts of the world, wildlife has to coexist with human activity in highly modified and fragmented landscapes. Combining concepts from population viability analysis and spatial reserve design, this study develops efficient quantitative methods for identifying conservation core areas at large, even national or continental scales. The proposed methods emphasize long-term population persistence, are applicable to both fragmented and natural landscape structures, and produce a hierarchical zonation of regional conservation priority. The methods are applied to both observational data for threatened butterflies at the scale of Britain and modelled probability of occurrence surfaces for indicator species in part of Australia. In both cases, priority landscapes important for conservation management are identified.