As an introduction to the addressed problem, this paper mentions that current methods in conservation planning typically focus on either representing species geographic distributions or maintaining connectivity between reserves, but rarely both, and take a focal species, rather than a multispecies, approach.
The authors of the study explored the impact of integrating both representation and connectivity into conservation planning for species persistence. This was done by linking prioritization methods with population models and using data on 288 Mediterranean fish species.
The paper shows that: 1) considering both representation and connectivity objectives provides the best strategy for enhanced biodiversity persistence and 2) connectivity objectives are fundamental to enhancing persistence in small-ranged species, which are most in need of conservation, while the representation objective benefited only wide-ranging species.
Therefore, the study identifies two key recommendations to guide regional conservation planning aiming to achieve long-term conservation goals. First, identifying areas that are important for facilitating connectivity is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of reserve networks, especially for small-ranged species. Second, the authors propose that the original framework of conservation planning should be modified by recognizing the integration of connectivity through well-defined and ecologically informed conservation objectives.
The authors highlight that using hypothetical traits of modeled species for guiding the optimal siting of reserves within a relatively data-poor context is possible, thus, contributing to build more effective reserve networks for the persistence of biodiversity.
Magris RA et al. (2018) Biologically representative and well-connected marine reserves enhance biodiversity persistence in conservation planning. Conservation Letters e12439