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Setting conservation priorities for migratory networks under uncertainty

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2017, 00:00 authored by K L Dhanjal-Adams, Marcel KlaassenMarcel Klaassen, S Nicol, H P Possingham, I Chadès, R A Fuller
Conserving migratory species requires protecting connected habitat along the pathways they travel. Despite recent improvements in tracking animal movements, migratory connectivity remains poorly resolved at a population level for the vast majority of species, hampering conservation prioritisation. In the face of these data limitations, we develop a novel approach to spatial prioritisation based on a model of potential connectivity, derived from empirical data on species abundance and distances travelled between sites while on migration. Applying this approach to migratory shorebirds using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, we demonstrate that conservation strategies that prioritise sites based on connectivity and abundance together, outperform strategies that only prioritise sites based on the abundance of birds. The conservation value of a site is therefore dependent on both its capacity to support migratory animals and its position within the migratory pathway, with the loss of crucial sites leading to partial or total population collapse. We suggest that strategies prioritising conservation action at sites supporting large populations of migrants should, where possible, be augmented using data or models on the spatial arrangement of sites.

History

Journal

Conservation biology

Volume

31

Issue

3

Pagination

646 - 656

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

Location

Chichester, Eng.

ISSN

0888-8892

eISSN

1523-1739

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Wiley-Blackwell