The Conservation Planning Database

The Conservation Planning Database project aims to help track the development, implementation, and impact of systematic conservation planning (SCP) applications, and improve scholarship in the field. This proof-of-concept database is documenting marine planning exercises, but will expand to include terrestrial and freshwater exercises.

What plans are we documenting?

Planning exercises following a SCP approach (Margules and Pressey 2000) to guide the allocation of limited resources to achieve explicit conservation (and sometimes also socioeconomic) objectives. A key component of SCP is spatial prioritization, which involves locating and configuring conservation areas, generally aiming for cost-efficient designs.

We are considering exercises that meet four criteria:

1. Define explicit conservation objectives, but can include social and economic objectives;

2. Identify spatially-explicit conservation areas (i.e. places where some form of management – from strict protection to off-reserve management – is undertaken to contribute to defined objectives), sometimes associated with actions;

3. Use spatial optimization/prioritization that accounts for some form of complementarity between conservation areas and/or actions, supported by existing (e.g. C-Plan, Marxan, Zonation) or custom-made (e.g. integer linear programming, genetic algorithms) decision-support tools; and

3. Identify marine conservation areas (including coastal ecosystems) AND/OR terrestrial or freshwater conservation areas with downstream benefits on coastal/marine ecosystems; i.e. plans include explicit marine conservation objectives.

Question Title

* Does your planning exercise meet the four criteria described above?

If you are unsure whether your planning exercise meets the criteria or need more information about the database, please send us an email to
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