Raising the bar for systematic conservation planning

William T. Langford, Ascelin Gordon, Lucy Bastin, Sarah A. Bekessy, Matt D. White, Graeme Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mathematical methods in systematic conservation planning (SCP) represent a significant step toward cost-effective, transparent allocation of resources for biodiversity conservation. However, research demonstrates important consequences of uncertainties in SCP. Current research often relies on simplified case studies with unknown forms and amounts of uncertainty and low statistical power for generalizing results. Consequently, conservation managers have little evidence for the true performance of conservation planning methods in their own complex, uncertain applications. SCP needs to build evidence for predictive models of error and robustness to multiple, simultaneous uncertainties across a wide range of problems of known complexity. Only then can we determine true performance rather than how a method appears to perform on data with unknown uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-640
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Langford, William T.; Gordon, Ascelin; Bastin, Lucy; Bekessy, Sarah A.; White, Matt D. and Newell, Graeme. Raising the bar for systematic conservation planning. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26, 12 (2011). DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.08.001


  • systematic conservation planning
  • SCP
  • biodiversity conservation
  • resource alocation
  • performance
  • conservation planning methods


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