A spatial multicriteria decision analysis for selecting priority sites for plant species restoration

a case study from the Chilean biodiversity hotspot

Ignacio C. Fernández, Narkis S. Morales*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Developing conservation strategies to restore populations of threatened species has been signaled as an important task by the Convention on Biological Diversity 2011–2020 targets. Species are being threatened not only by habitat loss and fragmentation but increasingly by climate change. As resources for conservation are often limited, and restoration is among the most expensive conservation strategies, developing approaches that help in the prioritization of areas for restoration efforts is a critical task. In this study, we propose a spatial multicriteria decision analysis (SMCDA) framework for identifying potential areas for plant species restoration initiatives that can explicitly take into account future climatic change. As a way to show how the framework can be applied, we took advantage of freely available niche modeling software and geospatial information to identify regional-scale priority areas for restoration of two threatened endemic tree species (i.e. Bielschmiedia miersii and Pouteria splendens) of the “Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forest” Hotspot. The SMCDA framework allowed us not only to identify priority areas for species restoration but also to analyze how different environmental conditions and land-use types may affect the selection of areas for species restoration. Our analysis suggests that the inclusion of climate change is a key factor to assess the potential areas for species restoration because species may respond differentially to future climatic conditions. This framework is conceived to be used as a complementary approach to available landscape-scale spatial conservation planning tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-608
Number of pages10
JournalRestoration Ecology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Bielschmiedia miersii
  • climate change
  • environmental suitability
  • GIS-MCDA
  • land suitability
  • niche modeling
  • Pouteria splendens
  • restoration planning

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