• Open Access

Prioritizing threat management for biodiversity conservation

Authors

  • Josie Carwardine,

    1. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, Queensland 4102, Australia
    2. The Ecology Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
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  • Trudy O’Connor,

    1. The Wilderness Society, 57E Brisbane St., Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
    2. Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia
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  • Sarah Legge,

    1. Australian Wildlife Conservancy, PO Box 8070, Subiaco East, Western Australia 6008, Australia
    2. North Australian Biodiversity Hub, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0909, Australia
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  • Brendan Mackey,

    1. Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia
    2. Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland 4222, Australia
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  • Hugh P. Possingham,

    1. The Ecology Centre, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
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  • Tara G. Martin

    1. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, Queensland 4102, Australia
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  • Editor
    Paul Armsworth

Josie Carwardine, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, Queensland 4102, Australia. Tel: +61(0)7 3833 5682. E-mail: Josie.Carwardine@csiro.au

Abstract

Calls for threat management actions to protect biodiversity and restore ecosystem function are rarely coupled with costed and prioritized sets of management actions for use in decision making. We present a cost-effectiveness approach for prioritizing threat management to maximize the in situ protection of biodiversity per dollar spent. The approach draws on empirical data and expert knowledge of major threats to biodiversity, feasible threat management actions, and likely responses of biodiversity to a set of costed management scenarios. An application assessing 637 vertebrate wildlife species in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia suggests that the likely functional loss of 45 mammals, birds, and reptiles over the next 20 years can be averted by effectively managing fire, grazing, and invasive species for approximately AU$40 million per year. Our approach is flexible and may be useful for delivering transparent guidance for conserving species and ecosystems in other regions, including those where data is limited.

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