Skip to main content


Table 1 Conservation planning definitions

From: What is the extent and distribution of evidence on effectiveness of systematic conservation planning around the globe? A systematic map protocol

Conservation planning
The process of identifying, configuring and managing conservation resources and actions to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services
Systematic approaches to planning
Planning stages approximate those in Fig. 1, i.e. the setting of explicit conservation objectives, spatial biological data (typically multiple species and/or habitats), socioeconomic and other datasets, stakeholder consultation [16] and ultimately, the identification of priority areas for the allocation of conservation resources
Core biological principles such as representation and persistence (adequacy; achieved by applying the principles of complementarity, irreplaceability, connectivity and related methods [13]) are considered alongside non-biological considerations, including social and political constraints and opportunities [36, 45]
E.g. The planning process for California’s Marine Life Protection Act in north central California, USA [71]
Systematic conservation planning
In addition to including all above components
(a) The benefits of conservation actions are specified either as threshold amounts of natural features to be represented or as continuous functions with increasing amounts of features; and
(b) the outputs are one or more optimal or near optimal sets of spatially-bounded conservation actions
Plans will necessarily use decision-support tools in the ‘spatial prioritisation’ stages
E.g. the representative areas program for the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia [14]