Systematic reserve selection in the USA: An example from the Columbia Plateau ecoregion

TitleSystematic reserve selection in the USA: An example from the Columbia Plateau ecoregion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsDavis, FW, Stoms, DM, Andelman, S
KeywordsBMAS biodiversity management areas reserve selection The Nature Conservancy TNC Columbia Plateau Geography of Hope coarse-filter fine-filter expert opinion

We describe a systematic conservation planning approach for identifying a set of areas that meet specified goals for biotic representation while balancing the dual objectives of efficiency (minimum area) and site suitability. The approach was applied by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to a regional planning exercise in the Columbia Plateau ecoregion of the northwestern United States. The exercise required integrating data on species, plant communities, land ownership and other socioeconomic factors, and combined expert opinion with computer-aided site selection modeling. The set of selected areas satisfied TNC's requirements and now serves as a blueprint for ongoing conservation efforts in the region. Strengths of the approach include its explicitness, flexibility, and consideration of both biological goals and socioeconomic concerns. However, the current site selection model requires fairly sophisticated computing hardware and software, which limits its portability and use by non-specialists. We are currently working to improve model portability and to add new functionality for site prioritization and species viability.