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Journal Articles Journal for Nature Conservation Year : 2016

On the importance of taking into account agricultural practices when defining conservation priorities for regional planning

Abstract

Conserving biodiversity in managed landscapes requires the definition of spatial conservation priorities. The systematic conservation planning tools which are used to define these conservation priorities, assess the vulnerability of different locations by combining two different elements: some measurement of the biological assets in question, and some measurement of the key processes which threaten these biological assets. For instance, in cumulative impact mapping, maps of individual human activities that impact ecosystems (hereafter referred to as `stressor' for individual maps and `cumulative stressor' for combined maps) are overlaid with maps of ecosystem vulnerability, in order to estimate the overall ecological impact of human activities on natural ecosystems. These tools are appealing because they are easy to use and inform regional land planning. However, given that once these spatial conservation priorities are defined they potentially have far-reaching consequences, there is a need to test their robustness and reliability. Here we propose to investigate how the uncertainties related to the estimation of a cumulative stressor layer affect the definition of spatial conservation priorities. We conduct a sensitivity analysis of the different ways of estimating major stressors related to human activities (transport, urbanization and population) with a specific focus on agriculture. We show that spatial conservation priorities are little sensitive to most of the parameters and input data used to estimate the cumulative stressor map. In particular, they are not very sensitive to changes in spatially overlapping stressors, i.e. those which overlap spatially with other stressors. However, our analyses also reveal that spatial conservation priorities are highly sensitive to how the agriculture stressor is defined. These results highlight the importance of better understanding how agricultural activities impact biodiversity and establishing how more accurate information on agricultural practices can be used to define spatial conservation priorities.
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Dates and versions

hal-01444077 , version 1 (21-02-2022)

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Mathilde Herve, Cécile H. Albert, Alberte Bondeau. On the importance of taking into account agricultural practices when defining conservation priorities for regional planning. Journal for Nature Conservation, 2016, 33, pp.76--84. ⟨10.1016/j.jnc.2016.08.001⟩. ⟨hal-01444077⟩
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