Using multivariate analysis to deliver conservation planning products that align with practitioner needs


  • Simon Linke,

  • Matthew Watts,

  • Romola Stewart,

  • Hugh P. Possingham

S. Linke (, M. Watts, R. Stewart and H. P. Possingham, The Univ. of Queensland, The Ecology Centre, School of Biology, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. SL also at: Australian Rivers Inst., Griffith Univ., Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia.


This software note describes an extension to the conservation planning package Marxan in which multiple solutions can be evaluated instead of only relying on the measures of best solution and irreplaceability. For this extension we coupled Marxan with the statistical software R. The pool of possible conservation plans is transferred from Marxan into R – which returns an ordination plot, as well as a cluster dendrogram that can be used to evaluate similarity of solutions. Also, the most efficient solutions per group are flagged. We believe that identification of alternative planning options facilitates review and implementation of Marxan solutions as negotiating parties have multiple alternative starting points.