Gap analysis (conservation)


Gap analysis (conservation)

Gap analysis [Scott, J.M. and Schipper, J. 2006. Gap analysis: a spatial tool for conservation planning. Pp. 518-519 in M.J. Groom, G.K. Meffe, C. Ronald Carroll and Contributors. "Principles of Conservation Biology" (3rd ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.] is a tool used in wildlife conservation to identify gaps in conservation lands (e.g., protected areas and nature reserves) or other wildlands where significant plant and animal species and their habitat or important ecological features occur.

Conservation managers or scientists can use it as a basis for providing recommendations to improve the representativeness of nature reserves or the effectiveness of protected areas so that these areas provide the best value for conserving biological diversity. With the information that a gap analysis yields, the boundaries of protected areas may be designed to subsume 'gaps' containing significant populations of wildlife species that can enhance the long-term survival of a larger metapopulation of the species already within the managed or protected area, or to include a diversity of wildlife species or ecosystems that merit protection but are inadequately represented in an existing protected area network. Gap assessments can be done using the geographic information system: land maps that delineate topography, biological and geological features (forest cover, plains, rivers, etc.), boundaries, land ownership and use are overlaid with the distribution of wildlife species. How much of the species' distribution fall within or without the conservation lands, or within a highly-exploited area etc. can be identified. [Tisdell, C., Wilson, C. and Swarna Nantha, H. 2005. Policies for saving a rare Australian glider: economics and ecology. "Biological Conservation" 123(2): 237-248.] [Fearnside, P.M. and Ferraz, J. 1995. A conservation gap analysis of Brazil's Amazonian vegetation. "Conservation Biology" 9(5): 1134-1147.]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.