Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Management; Volume 112, 15 December 2012, Pages 240–251
Authors: Seyedeh Mahdieh Sharafi, Atte Moilanen, Matt White, Mark Burgman
Abstract: Gap analysis is used to analyse reserve networks and their coverage of biodiversity, thus identifying gaps in biodiversity representation that may be filled by additional conservation measures. Gap analysis has been used to identify priorities for species and habitat types. When it is applied to identify gaps in the coverage of environmental variables, it embodies the assumption that combinations of environmental variables are effective surrogates for biodiversity attributes. The question remains of how to fill gaps in conservation systems efficiently. Conservation prioritization software can identify those areas outside existing conservation areas that contribute to the efficient covering of gaps in biodiversity features. We show how environmental gap analysis can be implemented using high-resolution information about environmental variables and ecosystem condition with the publicly available conservation prioritization software, Zonation. Our method is based on the conversion of combinations of environmental variables into biodiversity features. We also replicated the analysis by using Species Distribution Models (SDMs) as biodiversity features to evaluate the robustness and utility of our environment-based analysis. We apply the technique to a planning case study of the state of Victoria, Australia.