a1 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia.
a2 The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Non-government organizations (NGOs), agencies and research groups around the world have developed diverse approaches to conservation planning at the scale of landscapes and seascapes. This diversity partly reflects healthy differences in objectives, backgrounds of planners, and assumptions about data and conservation priorities. Diversity also has disadvantages, including confusion among donors and prospective conservation planners about what to fund and how to plan. To help reduce this confusion, we compared approaches described in separate articles by four major conservation NGOs. We structured our comparison with an 11-stage framework for conservation planning. We found considerable agreement between approaches in their recognition and ways of addressing many planning stages. The approaches diverged most obviously in ways of collecting socio-economic and biodiversity data and identifying explicit conservation objectives. Even here, however, the approaches tend to be complementary and there is potential to combine them in many landscapes and seascapes. Our review emphasizes that systematic methods are having real benefits in guiding effective conservation investments. We finish by outlining two challenges for conservation planning generally: (1) managing the transition from planning to applying conservation actions, and (2) assessing the costs and benefits of conservation planning.
(Received March 09 2009)
(Reviewed April 14 2009)
(Accepted May 19 2009)