Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Where to survey? Spatial biodiversity survey gap analysis: a multicriteria approach

Tamra F. Chapman A and W. Lachlan McCaw B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Parks and Wildlife, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Bentley, WA 6983, Australia. Present address: Data Analysis Australia Pty Ltd, PO Box 3258, Broadway, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia.

B Department of Parks and Wildlife, Locked Bag 2, Manjimup, WA 6258, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: lachie.mccaw@dpaw.wa.gov.au

Pacific Conservation Biology 23(2) 189-199 https://doi.org/10.1071/PC16030
Submitted: 21 July 2016  Accepted: 5 February 2017   Published: 14 March 2017

Abstract

The aim of this study was to quantify the relative effort for biodiversity surveys across the public forest estate in the south-west of Western Australia. We collated information on historical surveys into a metadatabase and recorded locations where surveys had been conducted in a spatial geodatabase. We then used multicriteria modelling to rank land conservation units on the basis of relative survey effort. The results indicated that the western, particularly the south-western, parts of the study area were relatively well surveyed while eastern parts were relatively poorly surveyed. This is likely to reflect greater habitat loss and fragmentation of vegetation on the eastern margins of the forest estate where it adjoins the extensively cleared Western Australian wheatbelt. There was also an emphasis on monitoring biodiversity in forest habitats closer to the main population centres of the south-west. The results of this analysis provide a basis for assessing future survey needs for the region, which should also consider: patterns of distribution in species richness; the extent, connectivity and conservation status of native vegetation; and the relative risks posed to biodiversity by infrastructure and industrial land uses. We discuss the potential limitations of the multicriteria modelling approach in the context of our study.

Additional keywords: South-west forest, Forest management, Geographic Information Systems


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