A multicriteria approach to reserve selection: addressing long-term biodiversity maintenance
- Cite this article as:
- Reyers, B., Fairbanks, D., Wessels, K. et al. Biodiversity and Conservation (2002) 11: 769. doi:10.1023/A:1015315405292
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Existing complementarity-based reserve selection techniquesconcerned with maximal biodiversity representation within minimum landarea do not necessarily ensure the long-term maintenance ofbiodiversity. These approaches often ignore the maintenance of naturalprocesses, turnover of feature diversity and the need to minimisethreats within conservation areas. We address these three emergentissues in the identification of potential avian conservation areas inthe Northern Province of South Africa, by combining ordination andspatial autocorrelation analyses, as well as land transformation datainto complementarity-based reserve selection techniques. Existingconservation areas are biased and inefficient and complementarity-basedmethods do little to correct this skew. The inclusion of speciesassemblage structure as well as the underlying environmental gradientsensures a conservation area network that strives to maintain bothbiodiversity pattern and process. Spatial autocorrelation analysisallows for the identification of areas with high β diversity,important areas for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity. Theinclusion of land transformation data leads to viable conservation areanetworks and highlights areas of potential conflict between biodiversityconservation interests and human land-use issues. These combinedimprovements on complementarity-based reserve selection techniques bringus a step closer to ensuring the long-term maintenance of biodiversitywithin conservation areas in the northern province.