The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Reserve system quality and a new metric proposed by H. Possingham in Friday's plenary

Most countries compete to create large reserve systems and report on the fraction of their land or sea that is protected.  This crude performance metric ignores the issue of reserve system quality.  For example many countries have over 15% of their area in reserves but many ecosystems are entirely unprotected. In Friday morning's plenary Possingham presented a new metric – "protection equality" - that, in a single number, tells us how representative a country's reserve system is .  It is based on the Gini coefficient of economics.  He showed that the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef, that was underpinned by his group's software Marxan,, had a remarkable protection equality of 80%, better than any terrestrial reserve system in the world.  Unfortunately more recent rezoning in Australia's EEZ, which will deliver over 3 million square km of marine protected area, is far less equitable.  Possingham went on to explore the politics of marine reserve system design in Australia and explained various extensions to their conservation planning software.  The University of Queensland will be running a student conference on conservation science in January 2013 -

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