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Developing Landscape Frameworks for Regional Conservation Planning; an Approach Integrating Fauna Spatial Distributions and Ecological Principles

  • Year: 2002
  • Author: Scotts, David; Drielsma, Michael
  • Journal Name: Pacific Conservation Biology
  • Journal Number: Vol. 8, No. 4
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: New South Wales

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are heavily implicated in the decline of biodiversity throughout the world. Numerous conservation programmes have emerged in the attempt to deal with these primary threats but they are often isolated and disparate, foregoing opportunities for integrated, cumulative approaches and benefits. This paper describes an approach that, through the integration of species' modelled distributions, and the application of landscape ecology principles, systematically considers the spatial requirements of priority forest fauna as surrogates for biodiversity across the landscape. With the aid of innovative Geographic Information System analysis tools, key habitats and corridors for priority faunal assemblages are delineated across north-east New South Wales. The mapped outputs from this study provide spatially complete, data-driven, systematically derived conservation frameworks for the region. The frameworks provide an explicit basis for regional protected area networks and a landscape context for regional conservation planning. As predicted high conservation value habitats, the mapped key habitats and corridors are also focus areas for the protection, enhancement and restoration of native vegetation. The Geographic Information System-referenced key habitats and corridors conservation frameworks have been adopted for conservation planning in north-east New South Wales, including "off-reserve" planning (e,g:, government and community-based programmes at regional, catchment and local levels), and "on-reserve" planning (e.g., national park and nature reserve management planning). The approach is applicable to other regions, wherever Geographic Information System-based spatial mapping, describing habitat quality for fauna species, can be collated.

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