Environmental Management

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 527–543

Measuring and Incorporating Vulnerability into Conservation Planning


    • The Ecology CentreThe University of Queensland
  • Robert L. Pressey
    • Department of Environment and ConservationRobert . L. Pressey
  • Adrian Newton
    • School of Conservation SciencesBournemouth University
  • Mark Burgman
    • School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneMelbourne
  • Hugh Possingham
    • The Ecology CentreThe University of Queensland
  • Chris Weston
    • Forest Science CentreUniversity of Melbourne

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-004-0095-9

Cite this article as:
Wilson, K., Pressey, R.L., Newton, A. et al. Environmental Management (2005) 35: 527. doi:10.1007/s00267-004-0095-9


Conservation planning is the process of locating and designing conservation areas to promote the persistence of biodiversity in situ. To do this, conservation areas must be able to mitigate at least some of the proximate threats to biodiversity. Information on threatening processes and the relative vulnerability of areas and natural features to these processes is therefore crucial for effective conservation planning. However, measuring and incorporating vulnerability into conservation planning have been problematic. We develop a conceptual framework of the role of vulnerability assessments in conservation planning and propose a definition of vulnerability that incorporates three dimensions: exposure, intensity, and impact. We review and categorize methods for assessing the vulnerability of areas and the features they contain and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of each broad approach. Our review highlights the need for further development and evaluation of approaches to assess vulnerability and for comparisons of their relative effectiveness.


Conservation planningVulnerabilityReserve designThreatsUncertainty

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005