Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 14, pp 4555–4567

Conservation Targets for Viable Species Assemblages in Canada: Are Percentage Targets Appropriate?


DOI: 10.1007/s10531-005-5819-5

Cite this article as:
Wiersma, Y.F. & Nudds, T.D. Biodivers Conserv (2006) 15: 4555. doi:10.1007/s10531-005-5819-5


Percentage targets for conservation have become a popular tool (advocated in both the scientific literature and the conservation community) for setting minimum goals for the amount of land to be set aside as protected areas. However, there is little literature to support a consistent percentage target that might be widely applied. Moreover, most percentage targets have not taken into account issues of species persistence. A recent study of herbivores in Kruger National Park took into account issues of representation and persistence in setting conservation targets and found that results were consistently about 50% and were unaffected by different permutations of the reserve selection process. Here, we carry out a similar analysis for representation of mammals within sites that are predicted to allow for their persistence, across eight ecologically defined regions in Canada to test whether we see similar consistent patterns emerging. We found that percentage targets varied with the different permutations of the reserve selection algorithms, both within and between the study regions. Thus, we conclude that the use of percentage targets is not an appropriate conservation strategy.


CanadaConservation targetsHeuristic algorithmsMammalsMinimum reserve areaReserve design

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecology Group, Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada