Information pyramids for informed biodiversity conservation
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 11, Number 12, December 2002 , pp. 2093-2116(24)
We discuss a paradigm for informed ecosystem management that provides a quantitative and rigorous foundation for informing conservation decisions and sustainable ecosystem management. Information pyramids incorporate conceptual and technological advances in ecosystem depiction and provide a framework for the integration and generalization of raw data into forms that are spatially extensive and at the appropriate level of generalization for a particular use. The basic tenets of the pyramid are: (1) Higher levels of the pyramid are entirely derived from a foundation of underlying data. (2) The process of generalization and integration upward should be objective and explicit. (3) Pyramids for different purposes often overlap, with common data and common methods for integration. (4) All levels of the pyramid should be developed together, including base data, methods and kinds of integration, and algorithms for using the information for planning and decision-making. Information pyramids are a powerful approach to organizing research science, and provide a mechanism by which research, data collection, storage and generalization can be focused on conservation outcomes. Common data and methods lead to increased efficiency, while also allowing for separate disciplines and programs. A case study of an integrated pyramid from New Zealand is discussed, which illustrates the characteristics of information pyramids. Components of this pyramid are discussed that provide examples of integration and generalization at various levels of the pyramid, from base data, to derived data, to spatial predictions and classifications, to a method of integrating this information into conservation decisions.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Landcare Research, Private Bag 3127, Hamilton, New Zealand; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: +64-7-858-4964 2: Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 112, Hamilton, New Zealand 3: Landcare Research, Private Bag 3127, Hamilton, New Zealand 4: Swiss Center for the Cartography of Fauna, Terreaux 14, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Publication date: December 2002