TitleIncorporating uncertainty associated with habitat data in marine reserve design
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsTulloch VJ, Possingham HP, Jupiter SD, Roelfsema C, Tulloch AIT, Klein CJ
Date PublishedJun
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0006-3207
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201300549979
Keywords00512, General biology - Conservation and resource management, 07506,, 07508, Ecology: environmental, 07512, Ecology: environmental biology - Oceanography, 64008, Invertebrata: comparative, experimental morphology, physiology, Algae, Algae, Microorganisms, Nonvascular Plants, Plants, and pathology - Cnidaria, Animals, Invertebrates, applied and field techniques, biology - Animal, Cnidaria [41000], conservation, conservation decision, Ecology: environmental biology - Plant, Fiji, Marine Ecology (Ecology, Environmental Sciences), marine reserve design, habitat conservation target, defensible, Pacific Ocean, Pacific Ocean/Kubulau District, Plantae, South, spatial conservation prioritization method, [13000], [algae]/Invertebrata, Animalia, [coral]
AbstractOne of the most pervasive forms of uncertainty in data used to make conservation decisions is error associated with mapping of conservation features. Whilst conservation planners should consider uncertainty associated with ecological data to make informed decisions, mapping error is rarely, if ever, accommodated in the planning process. Here, we develop a spatial conservation prioritization approach that accounts for the uncertainty inherent in coral reef habitat maps and apply it in the Kubulau District fisheries management area, Fiji. We use accuracy information describing the probability of occurrence of each habitat type, derived from remote sensing data validated by field surveys, to design a marine reserve network that has a high probability of protecting a fixed percentage (10-90%) of every habitat type. We compare the outcomes of our approach to those of standard reserve design approaches, where habitat-mapping errors are not known or ignored. We show that the locations of priority areas change between the standard and probabilistic approaches, with errors of omission and commission likely to occur if reserve design does not accommodate mapping accuracy. Although consideration of habitat mapping accuracy leads to bigger reserve networks, they are unlikely to miss habitat conservation targets. We explore the trade-off between conservation feature representation and reserve network area, with smaller reserve networks possible if we give up on trying to meet targets for habitats mapped with a low accuracy. The approach can be used with any habitat type at any scale to inform more robust and defensible conservation decisions in marine or terrestrial environments. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.