Menon, Shaily, Pontius, R. Gil Jr, Rose, Joseph, Kahn, ML, Bawa, Kamaljit S. . In Press. Identifying conservation priority areas in the tropics: A land-use change modeling approach. Conservation Biology. Volume ?? (Issue ??):Pages ??.
Conservation Priority Areas in the Tropics: A Land-Use Change Modeling Approach
R Gil Pontius Jr
Kamaljit S. Bawa
quantitative methods for identifying conservation-priority areas require more
detailed knowledge about the extent and distribution of biodiversity than is
currently available. Accelerated and irreversible losses of biodiversity call
for the development of alternative methods to identify priority sites for
biodiversity inventorying and protection. We focussed on the state of Arunachal
Pradesh, a biodiversity-rich region in Northeast India. We used GIS and
spatially explicit modeling to examine the correlation of
land-cover and land-use pattern with biogeophysical characteristics and
to project future patterns of land-use change. In 1988 70% of Arunachal Pradesh
was covered by forests. We project that 50% of the state’s 1988 forests will
be lost by 2021 based on anticipated growth of the human population and
resulting resource use. Of the total simulated deforestation, 76% occurs in areas that have no legal state
protection. We developed a map of threats to biodiversity that divides areas
that were forested in 1988 into four distinct categories: 1. susceptible to
future deforestation and currently unprotected; 2. susceptible to future
deforestation but currently within the protected area network;
3. not susceptible to future deforestation and protected; and 4. neither
susceptible to future deforestation nor currently protected. We make the
following recommendations based on our analyses.
Areas in category 1 should be a high priority for biodiversity
inventorying and conservation action. Areas in category 2 should have rigid
enforcement of protection. Areas in category 3 are locations of relatively low
priority for enforcement. Areas in category 4 that have a high conservation
potential are politically the easiest to include in the protected area network
and should be protected before they become targets of future land-use change.
Reserve forests (forests managed by the state forest department for a variety of
purposes including selective logging for timber harvesting) are predominantly
located in areas susceptible to land-use change and are prime candidates for
upgrading of protection status.
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Copyright 2000 Graduate School of Geography, Clark University