Development of framework for making catchment tradeoff decisions
Presentation on development of framework for making catchment tradeoff decisions by Bob Pressey of James Cook University (June 15, 2011). Managers of catchments have to deal with multiple objectives, corresponding to different sets of stakeholders and different funding sources. The application of systematic conservation planning to this problem begins by turning qualitative goals into quantitative objectives. These include but are not be restricted to: protection and restoration of endangered species and vegetation types, maintenance of connectivity for climate change adaptation, livelihoods of local communities, and river-mouth water quality. Values of areas within catchments for protection and restoration emerge from data and objectives and can be expressed, for example, as the relative contribution of areas to each objective or the irreplaceability of areas for achieving objectives. Inevitably, there will be imperfect, and sometimes poor, congruence between maps of values emerging from different objectives. Managers have limited resources to achieve their objectives, so action toward protection and restoration is incremental. While incremental management action is proceeding, the values that actions seek to preserve are being eroded. All this makes for difficult tradeoffs: managers must choose between actions in areas that have very different characteristics and contribute very differently to each of their objectives. Because of the background loss of values, decisions about what to protect this year are also decisions about what will remain at risk. This presentation describes a new project that is developing an analytical framework to guide managers through these decisions. The framework will be developed in close collaboration with managers. Study sites will be in Australia but the framework can be applied globally.