Abstract Listing by Session

Protected area planning and design

Epsom Room 3      Friday, December 9th 2011

Presentation #1   16:30  Improving the Robustness of Approaches for Setting Habitat Targets based on the Species-area Relationship: An example from the English Channel. Metcalfe, K*, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, United Kingdom ; Garcia, C, The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, NR33 0HT, United Kingdom; Foveau, A, Institut Francais de Recherche pour l’exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), Laboratoire Resources Halieutiques, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; Dauvin, JC, Universite de Caen Basse Normandie, Laboratoire Morphodynamique Continentale et Cotiere, UMR CNRS 6143 M2C, 2-4 rue des Tilleuls, F-14000 Caen, France; Coggan, R, The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, NR33 0HT, United Kingdom; Vaz, S, Institut Francais de Recherche pour l’exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), Laboratoire Resources Halieutiques, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; Harrop, SR, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, United Kingdom; Smith, RJ, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, United Kingdom
Conservation practitioners are increasingly using approaches based on the species-area relationship to set conservation targets for terrestrial and marine habitats. Although this method is transparent and scientifically defensible, there has been little research on how robust it is under different sampling conditions. Here we investigate how targets developed for marine habitats are influenced by changes in: (1) the number of samples used to generate estimates of species richness; (2) the non-parametric estimator used to derive estimates of species richness; and, (3) the level of habitat classification for which targets are developed. We show that targets are affected by each of these factors but sample size has the greatest impact, so that targets grow by up to 40% when sample sizes are increased from 50 to 300. Nonetheless, this still remains the best approach for setting habitat targets, so we suggest practitioners can improve current practice by: (1) using the Jackknife2 estimator, which like the Bootstrap estimator requires fewer samples to reach stable estimates but is less sensitive to sample size issues, and (2) developing calibration rules that can be used to increase targets for under-sampled habitat types.
Presentation #3   17:00  An experimental test of environmental decision theory MCCARTHY, MA*, The University of Melbourne
This presentation reports the results of an experimental test of environmental decision theory, a high-profile and vibrant research field. Environmental decision theory encompasses a range of methods that seek optimal solutions to solve environmental management problems. It has been applied to numerous topics in conservation biology including reserve design, allocation of funding to endangered species, surveillance for threatened and invasive species, and optimal management of threatened species. Despite its widespread and growing use, applications of environmental decision theory have not been tested experimentally. I report on an experimental test that examined the ability of environmental decision theory to maximize the detection of five different plant species by field surveyors. Optimal surveillance design is sensitive to detection rates. Expert plant ecologists searched nine quadrats for species in which the detection rates were controlled by modifying their abundance. The predicted benefits of environmental decision theory, as measured by the ability to increase detections of these species, were realized in the experiment. This experimental test demonstrates the potential of using decision theory to optimize detection of rare species, whether they are threatened or invasive.
Presentation #4   17:15  Science Narratives: Inspiring participation in large landscape conservation Wyborn, C*, Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU
Large landscape ‘connectivity conservation’ initiatives are rapidly gaining prominence across the world. They are motivated by a desire to halt biodiversity decline and preserve ecosystem processes in the face of climate change and habitat fragmentation. At the heart of these initiatives is the motivation and ability of individuals, agencies and institutions to collaborate across multiple scales, land tenures and land uses. Drawing on the concept of ecological connectivity, proponents claim to be ‘connecting people’ while ‘connecting landscapes’: a framing intended to engage and inspire a commitment to conservation through creating a positive narrative that places small-scale interventions in a larger landscape context. This framing demonstrates the power of a science-based concept that can bridge normative and scientific domains to create a space for meaningful action at the local scale. Using qualitative social research examining two large landscape conservation initiatives in Australia and North America, this paper will explore how charismatic species, captivating visions and a crisis are being mobilised to create a shared imperative for collaboration. Charismatic narratives may embellish the purity of scientific concepts however they also play an important role in engaging diverse groups of people in the context of landscape scale science and action.
Presentation #5   17:30  Reciprocal effects of fire management inside and outside protected areas on regional conservation goals Leroux, S.J.*, University of Ottawa ; Cumming, S.G., Universite Laval; Krawchuk, M.A., University of California, Berkeley; Schmiegelow, F.K.A., University of Alberta
Protected areas (PAs) are common tools for conserving natural ecosystems, but the landscape matrix surrounding PAs is also critical for achieving conservation goals. Natural disturbances such as forest fire move between PAs and the matrix, and management in either area can affect their frequency, magnitude and direction. In many forested biomes, some level of fire suppression is applied to protect timber supply, communities, infrastructure and fire-sensitive species. We use a spatial dynamic model (CONSERV) to investigate how differences in fire management between PAs and the matrix affect regional conservation goals. We parameterized CONSERV for a large region in northern Canada, which experiences an active wildfire regime. Our conservation goal was to maintain representation of the regional suite of vegetation communities. We simulated a factorial experiment of alternate levels of fire management effectiveness within PAs and the matrix for historical and projected future fire over 200 yrs, and tracked changes in landcover over time. Our results demonstrate that fire suppression in the matrix can alter vegetation communities inside PAs and that free-to-burn policies within PAs allow large fires to spread into the matrix. Changing climates in northern Canada, in conjunction with expanded infrastructure and growing communities, may lead to increasing demand for fire suppression. This will conflict with the preservation of natural processes in PA’s, unless they are very large.
Presentation #6   17:45  Conservation and climate change adaptation: identifying synergies and tensions Rickards, L.*, Uni Melb
Like conservation biology, climate change adaptation is an ever-more salient field. Engagement between the two areas to date has largely focused on a narrow conceptualisation of how climate change will likely impact biodiversity. While important, there are other significant parallels and potential interlinkages that need to be considered if we are to effectively pursue the goals of both fields in the face of their multiple shared threats. This paper begins this task by outlining major areas of shared conceptual and practical import. Some of these points of intersection are synergistic, including the potential for lessons to be shared between the fields. For example, it is argued that adaptation can be thought of as ‘conservation of the human species’ and that many of the lessons learned in conservation biology over previous decades, particularly following the rise of disturbance ecology, are applicable to the climate change adaptation field. Likewise, work in climate change adaptation has started to interrogate the implications of adopting different definitions of adaptation, resilience, vulnerability and transformation: insights that have relevance for conservation biology. Considering radically different futures is also an approach in adaptation that conservation could learn from. Other points of intersection between the two fields are less synergistic than antagonistic. For example, climate change adaptation may reinforce a strongly anthropocentric worldview and some conservation actions may prove maladaptive in the long term. Addressing these and other implicit points of conflict is essential for the success of both conservation and climate change adaptation.
Presentation #7   18:00  Cumulative impacts to ecosystem services: a review of frameworks and decision tree for practical application Singh, Gerald G.*, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia ; Martone, Rebecca G., Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia; Chan, Kai M.A., Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia
To be effective, ecosystem-based management must address how human activities influence the provision of ecosystem services. Frameworks for addressing cumulative impacts are necessary to highlight linkages between multiple activities, their inputs and impacts to important aspects of the ecosystem, the stakeholders likely to be affected, and the environmental and political boundaries that define scales of governance. Many frameworks have been proposed, but the abundance of these frameworks and the lack of clarity of when each is appropriate limits their appeal. We reviewed and synthesized frameworks to account for cumulative impacts, and developed a decision tree structured by data availability and the scale of impacts to provide a tool for practical application of the components of these frameworks. As some examples of broad insights from this decision tree, we show that understanding impacts to human well-being is an important step in integrating socio-ecological thinking, eliciting expert judgment is an effective approach for addressing data limitations, mechanistic models can be applied when relationships between activities and ecosystem functions are known, and Bayesian belief networks can be employed to explicitly deal with high levels of uncertainty. In ecosystem-based decision-making, different contexts call for different approaches, and this study provides a roadmap for matching approaches to contexts.