Conservation strategy maps: a tool to facilitate biodiversity action planning illustrated using the heath fritillary butterfly
Holloway, G. J., Griffiths, G. H. and Richardson, P. (2003) Conservation strategy maps: a tool to facilitate biodiversity action planning illustrated using the heath fritillary butterfly. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40 (2). pp. 413-421. ISSN 0021-8901
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1. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) identifies invertebrate species in danger of national extinction. For many of these species, targets for recovery specify the number of populations that should exist by a specific future date but offer no procedure to plan strategically to achieve the target for any species. 2. Here we describe techniques based upon geographic information systems (GIS) that produce conservation strategy maps (CSM) to assist with achieving recovery targets based on all available and relevant information. 3. The heath fritillary Mellicta athalia is a UKBAP species used here to illustrate the use of CSM. A phase 1 habitat survey was used to identify habitat polygons across the county of Kent, UK. These were systematically filtered using relevant habitat, botanical and autecological data to identify seven types of polygon, including those with extant colonies or in the vicinity of extant colonies, areas managed for conservation but without colonies, and polygons that had the appropriate habitat structure and may therefore be suitable for reintroduction. 4. Five clusters of polygons of interest were found across the study area. The CSM of two of them are illustrated here: the Blean Wood complex, which contains the existing colonies of heath fritillary in Kent, and the Orlestone Forest complex, which offers opportunities for reintroduction. 5. Synthesis and applications. Although the CSM concept is illustrated here for the UK, we suggest that CSM could be part of species conservation programmes throughout the world. CSM are dynamic and should be stored in electronic format, preferably on the world-wide web, so that they can be easily viewed and updated. CSM can be used to illustrate opportunities and to develop strategies with scientists and non-scientists, enabling the engagement of all communities in a conservation programme. CSM for different years can be presented to illustrate the progress of a plan or to provide continuous feedback on how a field scenario develops.