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Conservation Action Planning
Process
Target Viability/Integrity:
An Iterative Process
Defining
Your Project
Developing
Strategies & Measures
·Developing
Target viability
&
·Strategies
Critical threats
· Measures
Situation analysis
Using Results to
Adapt & Improve
· Objectives & actions
· Measures
Implementing
Strategies &
Measures
What is Viability?
Viability of a conservation
target is the measure to
What is “viability”?
which the target is…….
resistant to change in its structure and composition in the
face of external stresses and
resilient – able to
recover upon
experiencing occasional
severe stress
Why Assess Viability?
(1) To clearly define targets (esp. ecological systems)
(2) Science-based foundation for establishing current status of a
target and setting desired future condition (goals)
(3) Helps to identify stresses to the ecological integrity of each
target and understand with more precision how these threats
disrupt the target
(4) Assists in developing good objectives and focused strategies
(5) Guides the design of monitoring protocol and measures of
success
(6) Helps identify critical knowledge gaps about the system
Viability analysis has three steps
Step One. Define Key Ecological Attributes
Step two.
Identify indicators of status of these Attributes
Step three. Rank the indicators
Step One
Select: KEY ECOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES
Aspects of the conservation target (species,
community or ecological system) that clearly define
or characterize the target and determine its
distribution and variation over space and time.
Characteristics of the target, that if eliminated or
significantly altered, would result in the demise of the
target or would shift it into something quite different.
Characteristics of Conservation Targets –
assigned to categories of……
Size
•
•
Area or abundance
Minimum dynamic area
Condition
• Composition (e.g., native vs. nonnative)
• Structure (e.g., age)
• Biotic Interactions (e.g., reproduction)
Landscape Context
• Dominant environmental regimes (e.g. fire, hydrology)
• Connectivity (e.g., access to habitats/resources, ability to
disperse, migrate, re-colonize)
KEA for Mangrove Forest
Focal
Target
Mangrove
Forest
Category
Key
Attribute
Size
Habitat Size
KEA for Coral Reef
Focal
Target
Coral Reef
Category
Key
Attribute
Condition
Presence of
Invasive
species
Tips for Selecting Key Ecological Attributes
•
Pick factors that are critical for long-term viability…
Characteristics, if degraded, would seriously jeopardize
the target’s ability to persist for 100+ years?
•
When in doubt, pick characteristics that can be or are
likely to be affected by human activities
•
Look for a few really key ecological attributes
… versus many desirable or descriptive characteristics
Key Ecological Attributes are what’s important…….
Second Step: Select Indicators
Indicators are measurable aspects of the Key Ecological
Attribute that inform us of its status or “health”
Key Attribute: Circulatory system
Indicator: Blood pressure
Indicators are what you measure
Indicator for Mangrove Forest
Focal
Target
Mangrove
Forest
Category
Key
Attribute
Size
Habitat Size
Indicator
% of original
forest
Indicator for Coral Reef
Focal
Target
Coral Reef
Category
Key
Attribute
Indicator
Condition
Presence of
Invasive
species
Crown of thorns
on reef
Look for indicators that ...
•
Strongly relate to the status of the key ecological attribute
•
Are efficient & affordable to measure
•
Where you can reasonably define what constitutes “Good”
•
Desirable indicators ...
– Might provide an early warning to serious stresses
– Might assess two or more key ecological attributes
e.g. Presence of young cypress in a
floodplain forest as an indicator for both
hydrological regime & reproduction of
dominant species
Step Three:
“Ranking” Target Viability
Good:
Indicator w/in acceptable
range of variation; Some
intervention required for
maintenance
Very Good:
Ecologically
desirable status;
Requires little
intervention for
maintenance
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Target
name
Category
- Size
- Condition
- Landscape
Context
Key
Attribute
Key Attribute A
Indicator
Indicator 1
Poor
Fair
Good
Very
Good
Criteria
for Poor
Criteria
for Fair
Criteria
for Good
Criteria for
Very
Good
Poor:
Restoration
increasingly difficult;
May result in
extirpation
Fair:
Outside acceptable range
of variation; Requires
human intervention
Viability Ratings for
Mangrove Forest
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Mangrove
Forest
Category
Key
Attribute
Size
Habitat Size
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Good
Very
Good
% of original
forest
< 25
25-50
51-75
> 75
Viability Ratings for Coral Reef
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Coral Reef
Category
Key
Attribute
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Good
Condition
Presence of
Invasive
species
Crown of thorns
on reef
Lots
Few
None
Very
Good
Overall “Picture” of Project Viability
SIZE
SIZE
CONDITION
CONDITION
SIZE
LANDSCAPE
CONTEXT
CONDITION
LANDSCAPE
CONTEXT
LANDSCAPE
CONTEXT
Target A
Viability
Target B
Viability
SIZE
CONDITION
Target C
Viability
Biodiversity Health or Landscape
Functionality
LANDSCAPE
CONTEXT
Target D
Viability
Final Product:
Target Viability Summary
Northern Wheatbelt
Woodlands
Landscape Context
Condition
Size
Conservation Targets
Viability
Rank
Grade
Weight
Grade
Weight
Grade
Weight
1 Eucalypt woodlands
Fair
1
Good
1
Very Good
1
Good
2 Malleefowl
Fair
1
Fair
1
Fair
1
Fair
3 Priority flora of the greenstone ranges
Good
1
Fair
1
Fair
1
Fair
4 Succulent steppe mosaic
Good
1
-
0
Very Good
1
Very Good
5 Critical weight mammals
Good
1
Poor
1
Poor
1
Fair
Fair
1
Good
1
Good
1
Good
7
-
1
-
1
-
1
-
8
-
1
-
1
-
1
-
6 Shrublands
Site Biodiversity Health Rank
Good
Conducting the Assessment
An iterative process with “successive approximations”
Begin with a “credible first iteration” -- your first approximation
• Identify 3 - 5 really key ecological attributes for each focal target (maybe
one each for size, condition and landscape context)
• Determine what you’ll measure for each attribute – indicator
• Discuss and describe what would constitute a “good” status
• Rate the “Current Status” for each attribute, based on informed expert
opinion + available information
• Present your initial findings to colleagues/experts for review
Example - 1st Pass
Focal
Target
Grassland
Target
•
•
•
•
•
Category
Landscape
Context
Key Attribute
Fire regime
Indicator
Fire
frequency
Current
Status
Fair
Grassland focal target identified
Fire regime = Key Attribute (Landscape Context)
Fire frequency = Indicator
Dense woody cover suggests not enough fire
Current status deemed not viable - assigned “Fair”
1st Pass - table
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
grassland Type X
Category
Landscape
Context
Key Attribute
fire regime
Indicator
Poor
fire frequency
1st pass results in Indicator Rating table
Fair
not
enough
fire
Good
Very Good
2nd Pass
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Poor
Fair
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
not
enough
fire
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
> 10 years
Phone call to local grassland expert indicates
natural fire frequency of 5-10 years.
Good
5-10
years
Very Good
3rd Pass
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
•
•
•
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Good
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
not
enough
fire
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
> 10 years
5-10
years
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
% grassland with
5-10 yr fire
return
25-50%
51-75%
<25%
% of the area that is burned at acceptable frequency deemed important
Decision made > 50% of area = viable or key attribute = “Good”
Current status is < 50% is burned at this interval
Very Good
>75%
Flexible level of detail
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Good
1
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
not
enough
fire
2
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
fire frequency
> 10 years
5-10
years
3
grassland Type X
Landscape
Context
fire regime
% grassland with
5-10 yr fire
return
25-50%
51-75%
<25%
The project team could have settled on any one of
these 3 alternatives as part of their initial CAP plan
Very Good
>75%
Incomplete is OK!
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
grassland Type X
Category
Size
Key Attribute
Size/extent of
characteristic
communities /
ecosystems
Indicator
aerial extent
in acres
How important is it to fill out
all ratings in this case
where Current & Desired
status is Very Good?
Poor
Fair
Good
Very Good
> 100,000
acres
Probably Not Important!
- Unless grassland area is
threatened by large-scale habitat
destruction.
- In this case, determining the Fair
rating might guide efforts to
determine how much to save
Accept uncertainty!
General Guidance
• View main purpose as capturing the current state
of knowledge
• Don’t worry about information gaps
• Don’t focus on filling out all indicator ratings
• Can return during later planning stages to add
more detail (if necessary)
A Reasonable First Pass Example
Target: Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrots – Cockpit Country
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Landscape
Context
Availability of medium to
large trees for nesting
Number of large trees
Condition
Natural predation (e.g.
by Red-tailed Hawk &
Yellow Boa)
Nest predation between March and
July
Size
Population size
Number of individuals per sample
point
Condition
Population structure
Fledging rates (use predator
monitoring data): number of
successful nests
Size
Availability of large
forest blocks for
population refuges
Average Block Size measured from
satellite imagery or aerial
photography (every 5 yrs)
Poor
>50% of
nests
predated
Fair
Good
low density of
large trees
high density
of large trees
10-50% of nests
predated
<10% of nests
predated
decrease from
Davis' 2001
baseline
>= from
Davis' 2001
baseline
Very
Good
Very
good
Decreasing
average
block size
increasing
average block
size
Breakout Group Instructions:
Viability Assessment
Task
• Select one target from your project area.
• Develop 3 - 5 key ecological attributes
• Identify one indicator for each key ecological attribute
• Develop indicator rating criteria for one indicator (based
on your collective expert opinion)
– Define “good” and the current status
• Qualitative ratings are OK! (e.g. “Lots of in-stream
barriers”, “not enough fire” etc.)
Breakout Group Instructions:
Viability Assessment
Very Briefly Report Back:
• What are the key attributes you selected?
• Why is each attribute “key” for the target?
• Which key ecological attributes did you select
indicators for?
• What indicators were selected?
• Which indicator did you develop rating criteria for?
• How confident are you in your rating?
What follows are a set of additional
examples you might want to substitute in
the presentation for your use. Or you
might want to use an example from a
previous project you have worked on.
Example - 1st Pass
Focal
Target
Diadromous
fish
•
•
•
•
•
Category
Size
Key Attribute
Population
size &
dynamics
Indicator
# of adult
(silver) eel
harvested
Current
Status
Fair
American eel focal target identified
Population size & dynamics = Key Attribute (size)
Number of adult (silver) eel harvested = Indicator
Few mature (silver) eels caught by fisherman during out-migration.
Current status deemed not viable - assigned “Fair”
1st Pass - table
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Diadromous Fish
Category
Size
Key Attribute
Population size &
dynamics
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Number of
adult (silver) eel
harvested
No eels
caught
during
out
migration
Few
mature
eels
caught
during outmigration
1st pass results within Indicator Rating table
Good
Very Good
2nd Pass
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Category
Key Attribute
Diadromous fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
Diadromous fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
Indicator
# of adult
(silver) eel
harvested
# of adult
(silver) eels
harvested/night
Poor
Fair
No eels
caught
during
outmigrati
on
Few mature
eels caught
during
outmigration
< 1,000
lbs/night
Conversation with local eel expert indicates
silver eel harvest used cover the bottom of
weirs with eels, approx 1,000 lbs a night.
Good
>1,000
lbs/night
Very Good
3rd Pass
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Diadromous fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
# of adult (silver)
eel harvested
Diadromous fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
# of adult (silver)
eels harvested/night
Diadromous fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
% fish biomass
Poor
Fair
No eels
caught
during
outmigration
Few mature
eels caught
during outmigration
< 25%
• % of fish biomass deemed to be important
• Decision made > 35% biomass = viable KEA
= “Good”
Good
< 1,000
lbs/night
>1,000
lbs/night
25 – 35%
35 – 50%
Very Good
> 50%
Flexible level of detail
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current
Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
1
Diadromous
fish
Category
Key Attribute
Indicator
Size
Population size &
dynamics
# of adult
(silver) eel
harvested
2
Diadromous
fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
# of adult
(silver) eels
harvested/night
3
Diadromous
fish
Size
Population size &
dynamics
% fish biomass
Poor
Fair
No eels
caught
during
outmigration
Few mature
eels caught
during outmigration
< 25%
The project team could have settled on any one of
these 3 alternatives as part of their initial CAP plan
Good
< 1,000
lbs/night
>1,000
lbs/night
25 – 35%
35 – 50%
Very Good
> 50%
From Viability assessment
in Indonesian village
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Category
Key Attribute
Catches
from the
Sea
Size
Population
size
Indicator
Fish catch
per day
Poor
Fair
X
• Catches from the Sea identified as a focal target for fish
caught for local consumption and sale
• Key attribute & indicator selected
• Fisherman observe that catch is much less than they
remember in recent times
• Current status considered not viable (Fair)
Good
Very
Good
From Viability assessment
in Indonesian village
Indicator Ratings
Bold=Current Italics=Desired
Focal
Target
Catches
from the
Sea
•
•
•
•
Category
Size
Key Attribute
Indicator
Poor
Fair
Population size
fish catch per
day
catch =
0
1 - 30
strings of
fish
Interviews indicate current harvest < 30 strings of fish
Ten years ago, harvest yielded up to 200 strings of fish
> 100 considered Very Good
31-100 considered Good
Good
Very
Good
31-100 > 100
strings strings
of fish of fish
Size/Minimum Dynamic Area
Scaling Factors and Reserve Size
for Northern Appalachians Matrix Forests
DISTURBANCES:
Fires (NH)
(4 X's the historic
severe-destruction
patch size)
Downbursts
Fires (SF)?
Hurricanes
Tornados
Fires (SF)?
SPECIES:
(25 X's the mean
female home range)
F isher*
Lynx*
Barred Owl
Marten
Neotropical birds
Moose*
Spruce Grouse
0
2
5
10
Bobcat *
15
20
25
Acres (000’s)
30
35
40 //
75
//
Final Product: Target Viability
Summary
Systems Viability Worksheet
Mount Grant
Systems(Target) Viability
Surface Water
Riparian Forests and Shrublands
Montane Meadows
Springs and Seeps
Sagebrush/Pinyon Woodlands
Greater Sage Grouse
Subalpine and Alpine Systems
Lakeshore Wetlands
Site Biodiversity Health Rank
Size
Condition
Grade
Good
Very Good
Good
Very Good
Good
Fair
Very Good
Good
Grade
Good
Good
Fair
Good
Fair
Poor
Very Good
Fair
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
Landscape
Context
Grade
Fair
Good
Good
Good
Fair
Fair
Good
Good
Viability
Rank
Good
1
Good
1
Good
1
Good
1
Fair
1
Fair
1
1 Very Good
Good
1
Good
Viability Assessment:
Fundamentals
• Key Ecological Attributes
– Critical component of target’s life history, physical or
biological processes, composition, structure
– Clearly define target
– Limit its distribution
– Determine its natural variation over space and time
– On a time scale of 50-100+ years
• Viability Indicators
– Measurable entities used to assess the status of
Key Ecological Attribute(s).
• Indicator Rating Categories
– Criteria to enable objective status assessments