Below is a link to new publication that describes how to use participatory mapping data to identify conservation opportunities and priorities that explicitly consider ecological, economic, and social criteria (the sustainability triad). The identification of conservation area priorities using ecological/biological data, and to a lesser extent, economic data, have been used for quite some time (e.g., using complex models such as Marxan or Zonation). What has been missing from conservation assessments is the “social acceptability” criterion measured spatially. Participatory mapping is the best way to collect this social acceptability data. The case study is focused on the koala in Australia, but the spatial integration method can be applied to many species and geographies of interest. Showing my bias here, but mathematical models for conservation are too complex for actual application by local governments and NGOs. Simple spatial overlays that combine the three key sustainability criteria seems much more intuitive and not reliant on top-down experts.
Abstract below. Here is a link to the article: http://www.landscapevalues.org/publications/conservation_opportunity.pdf
Greg Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Professor and Department Head
Natural Resource Management & Environmental Sciences
California Polytechnic State University
Visit the Landscape Values & PPGIS Institute (www.landscapevalues.org)
Eﬀective wildlife conservation requires consideration of ecological and social factors, including social accept-ability of conservation actions. Using the threatened koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) as a case study, we demonstrate a novel, socio-ecological approach for identifying conservation opportunity that spatially connects landscapes with community preferences to prioritize koala recovery strategies at a regional scale. We conceptualize conservation opportunity as the spatial integration of three sustainability criteria—ecological potential, social acceptability, and economic feasibility. The social acceptability criterion was assessed using a crowdsourced spatial survey that identiﬁed spatial preferences for koalas and land uses that impact koala conservation. As a novel approach, we addressed important research questions regarding the design, collection, and analysis of crowd-sourced mapping data for identifying socially acceptable conservation opportunities. Public preferences for koalas were mapped closer to home, in higher suitable koala habitats than expected, were more pronounced in conservation and natural areas on public lands, and were mapped less frequently in modiﬁed agricultural landscapes. When the multiple criteria (ecological, social, and economic) were included in the conservation assessment, we found the social acceptability criterion exerted the greatest inﬂuence on spatial conservation priorities. The systematic assessment of social criteria for conservation using spatial surveys provides information that can be integrated with ecological information to prioritize conservation opportunities. Potential enhancements include expanding survey recruitment eﬀorts and using alternative social data collection methods to achieve greater geographic and socio-demographic representation, and augmenting the economic feasibility assessment with private property values and transaction data from voluntary conservation agreements with private landowners.