Document: Some future prospects for systematic biodiversity planning in Papua New Guinea
One of 4 papers reporting on a World Bank funded project for Papua New Guinea. The project applied systematic conservation planning to identify an efficient set of priority areas for investments in biodiversity conservation.
Faith, D. P., Walker, P. A. and Margules, C. R., (2001). Some future prospects for systematic biodiversity planning in Papua New Guinea – and for biodiversity planning in general. Pacific Conservation Biology 6:325-343.
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We describe three challenges for biodiversity planning, which arise from a study in Papua New Guinea, but apply equally to biodiversity planning in general. These are 1. the best use of available data for providing biodiversity surrogate information, 2. the integration of representativeness and persistence goals into the area prioritisation process, and 3. implications for the implementation of a conservation plan over time. Each of these problems is linked to the effective use of complementarity. Further, we find that a probabilistic framework for calculating persistence-based complementarity values over time can contribute to resolving each challenge. Probabilities allow for the exploration of a range of possible complementarity values over different planning scenarios, and provide a way to evaluate biodiversity surrogates.
The integration of representativeness and persistence goals, via estimated probabilities of persistence, facilitates the crediting of partial protection provided by sympathetic management. For the selection of priority areas and land-use allocation, partial protection may be a “given” or implied by an allocated land use. Such an integration also allows the incorporation of vulnerability/threat information at the level of attributes or areas, incorporating persistence values that may depend on reserve design. As an example of the use of persistence probabilities, we derive an alternative proposed priority area set for PNG. This is based on 1) a goal of 0.99 probability of persistence of all biodiversity surrogate attributes used in the study, 2) an assumption of a 0.10 probability of persistence in the absence of any form of formal protection, and 3) a 0.90 probability of persistence for surrogate attributes in proposed priority areas, assuming formal protection is afforded to them.
The calculus of persistence also leads to a proposed system of environmental levies based on biodiversity complementarity values. The assigned levy for an area may change to reflect its changing complementarity value in light of changes to protection status of other areas. We also propose a number of complementarity-based options for a carbon credits framework. These address required principles of additionality and collateral benefits from biodiversity protection. A related biodiversity credits scheme, also based on complementarity, encourages investments in those areas that make greatest ongoing contributions to regional biodiversity representation and persistence. All these new methods point to a new “systematic conservation planning” that is not focused only on selecting sets of areas but utilizes complementarity values and changes in probabilities of persistence for a range of decision-making processes. The cornerstone of biodiversity planning, complementarity, no longer reflects only relative amounts of biodiversity but also relative probabilities of persistence.