, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 113-135
Date: 16 May 2006

Differences in Characteristics of Reserve Network Selection Using Population Data Versus Habitat Surrogates

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Abstract

The use of species data versus environmental surrogates used in lieu of species data in systematic reserve site selection is still highly debated. We analyse in a case study whether and how the results of reserve network selection are affected by the use of species data versus habitat surrogates (habitat models) for qualitative (presence/absence) and quantitative (population size/habitat quality) information. In a model region, the post-mining landscape south of Leipzig/Germany, we used iterative algorithms to select a network for 29 animal target species from a basic set of 127 sites. The network results differ markedly for the two information types: depending on the representation goal, 18–45% of the selected sites chosen in response to one information type do not appear in the results for the other type. Given the availability of quantitative and hence deeper information, evaluation rules can be used to filter out the best habitats and the largest populations. In our model study, 0–40% less suitable areas were selected when instead of quantitative details only qualitative data were used. In view of various advantages and limitations of the two information types, we propose improving the methodological approach to the selection of networks for animal species by combining different information types.