Area prioritization for biodiversity conservation in Québec on the basis of species distributions: a preliminary analysis

Abstract

Results are presented which prioritize areas for potential protection in Québec on the basis of biodiversity considerations. These results are relevant to the ongoing public discussion in Québec about designating new parks and refuges so that the province may fulfil its obligations to Canada's Endangered Spaces Campaign. The prioritization algorithm used in this analysis is based on rarity and complementarity. It attempts to sample biodiversity in as area-efficient a way as possible. The biodiversity surrogates used here comprise a subset of 743 species for which data on spatial distributions are publicly available; the analysis begins with 394 species at risk. It is shown that: (i) the existing network of protected areas in Québec does a poor job of protecting these biodiversity surrogates; (ii) adding adjacent areas to this network will not be the optimal way of protecting these biodiversity surrogates; (iii) many of the areas that have highest priority are in southern Québec, which has a high human population density; (iv) because of (iii), designating parks may not be economically or sociologically feasible and more adaptive alternative conservation plans will have to be devised; (v) coastal areas, riparian habitats, and other wetlands should have high priority for protection but are currently very inadequately represented in the reserve network; (vi) there is some reason for concern about the clear-cut logging of boreal forests in northern Québec; and (vii) the islands, Île d'Anticosti and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, emerge as being of very significant conservation value and plans for the protection of areas on them should be an immediate goal for biodiversity conservation in Québec.

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Sarakinos, H., Nicholls, A., Tubert, A. et al. Area prioritization for biodiversity conservation in Québec on the basis of species distributions: a preliminary analysis. Biodiversity and Conservation 10, 1419–1472 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011871723686

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  • area prioritization
  • area selection
  • Québec
  • reserve design