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Understanding the Tradeoffs Between Site Quality and Species Presence in Reserve Site Selection

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A number of optimization models have been developed for natural reserve design and reserve site selection. The most common approach seeks to maximize the number of individual species that occur among chosen sites. A number of heuristics and mathematical programming algorithms have been applied to solve this problem. Although attaining maximum overall species representation is important, the relative quality of representation [which could be affected by site attributes such as habitat value, adequate population size, presence of critical resources, existence (or lack thereof) of exotic competitors, etc.] has been absent from most representation models. Yet issues of site quality should be considered in order to have any assurance of long-term species persistence in a reserve system. Here we present a multiobjective optimization model that addresses the issue of balancing species presence with habitat quality. One type of interesting alternative yields more high quality representation at the price of some reduction in overall representation. We present an application using a large dataset from California Gap Analysis to demonstrate this and other tradeoffs. Optimal solutions are attained using commercial integer programming software with very reasonable computational effort. For. Sci. 46(2):157-167.

Keywords: Reserve design; geographical information systems; integer programming; multiobjective optimization

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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