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Wednesday, January 31 • 10:20am - 10:40am
STREAMS, DAMS & RESERVOIRS: Parameterization of Spatial Conservation Prioritization: Impacts on Stream Conservation Priorities

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AUTHORS. Nicholas Sievert, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Joanna Whittier, University of Missouri; Craig Paukert, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT. The use of conservation planning software for the prioritization of conservation efforts for stream fish is widespread. These tools have a wide variety of parameters which can be set in order to achieve desired outcomes, however comparisons showing the impacts of different parameterizations is limited. As part of an effort to identify priority areas for stream fish conservation in Missouri we used Zonation conservation planning software to evaluate the effects of the use of different prioritization algorithms, weighting schemes, and the inclusion of stream network connectivity in our analysis. This research revealed that the choice of prioritization algorithm had the biggest consequences for which sites were identified as high priority areas with less than 60% congruence of sites in the top 10% of priorities. The Core-Area algorithm resulted in high priority stream segments with more occurrences of rare species, but lower average species richness relative to the high priority stream segments identified with use of the Additive Benefit Function. The inclusion of connectivity in the planning process resulted in more highly clustered priority stream segment with slightly lower levels of species representation. For the top 10% of priority stream segments there was approximately 70% congruence between priorities selected with and without the inclusion of a connectivity parameter. Providing additional weight to vulnerable species had relatively little impact on priority stream segments compared to weighting all species equally. For the top 10% of priorities there was approximately 90% congruence between species weighted and unweighted priorities. Our analyses revealed that decisions related to the parameterization of conservation prioritization efforts can have substantial impacts on the resulting priorities. Our study provides guidance for future prioritization efforts by aiding in decision making related to selecting settings which best meet project objectives.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 10:20am - 10:40am CST