Adaptive decision rules for the acquisition of nature reserves

Will R. Turner, David S. Wilcove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although reserve-design algorithms have shown promise for increasing the efficiency of conservation planning, recent work casts doubt on the usefulness of some of these approaches in practice. Using three data sets that vary widely in size and complexity, we compared various decision rules for acquiring reserve networks over multiyear periods. We explored three factors that are often important in real-world conservation efforts: uncertain availability of sites for acquisition, degradation of sites, and overall budget constraints. We evaluated the relative strengths and weaknesses of existing optimal and heuristic decision rules and developed a new set of adaptive decision rules that combine the strengths of existing optimal and heuristic approaches. All three of the new adaptive rules performed better than the existing rules we tested under virtually all scenarios of site availability, site degradation, and budget constraints. Moreover, the adaptive rules required no additional data beyond what was readily available and were relatively easy to compute.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-537
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology


  • Complementarity
  • Dynamic reserve acquisition
  • Irreplaceability
  • Minimum set
  • Reserve-design algorithms
  • Systematic conservation planning


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive decision rules for the acquisition of nature reserves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this