Incorporating connectivity into conservation planning for the optimal representation of multiple species and ecosystem services

Sara H Williams, Sarah A Scriven, David F R P Burslem, Jane K Hill, Glen Reynolds, Agnes L Agama, Frederick Kugan, Colin R Maycock, Eyen Khoo, Alexander Y L Hastie, John B Sugau, Reuben Nilus, Joan T Pereira, Sandy L T Tsen, Leung Y Lee, Suzika Juiling, Jenny A Hodgson, Lydia E S Cole, Gregory P Asner, Luke J EvansJedediah F Brodie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Conservation planning tends to focus on protecting species' ranges or landscape connectivity but seldom both-particularly in the case of diverse taxonomic assemblages and multiple planning goals. Therefore, information on potential trade-offs between maintaining landscape connectivity and achieving other conservation objectives is lacking. We developed an optimization approach to prioritize the maximal protection of species' ranges, ecosystem types, and forest carbon stocks, while also including habitat connectivity for range-shifting species and dispersal corridors to link protected area. We applied our approach to Sabah, Malaysia, where the state government mandated an increase in protected-area coverage of approximately 305,000 ha but did not specify where new protected areas should be. Compared with a conservation planning approach that did not incorporate the 2 connectivity features, our approach increased the protection of dispersal corridors and elevational connectivity by 13% and 21%, respectively. Coverage of vertebrate and plant species' ranges and forest types were the same whether connectivity was included or excluded. Our approach protected 2% less forest carbon and 3% less butterfly range than when connectivity features were not included. Hence, the inclusion of connectivity into conservation planning can generate large increases in the protection of landscape connectivity with minimal loss of representation of other conservation targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-942
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
Early online date11 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding was provided by the Rainforest Trust foundation. Support was also provided by the Sabah Forest Department, Forest Research Centre, the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership, the U.N. Development Programme, the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (FRGS0414-STWN-1/2015), PACOS Trust, BC Initiative, the Natural Environment Research Council UK (grant NE/R009597/1), and the Universities of Aberdeen, Montana, and York. We are grateful to the numerous researchers that collected the data used in our analyses, as well as the local communities and government staff who manage forested areas across Sabah.


  • Borneo
  • Climate change
  • Connectivity
  • Corridors
  • Deforestation
  • Habitat loss
  • Rainforest
  • Systematic conservation planning
  • selva
  • systematic conservation planning
  • pérdida de hábitat
  • conectividades
  • deforestation
  • corredores
  • habitat loss
  • connectivity
  • deforestación
  • planeación sistemática de la conservación
  • corridors
  • rainforest
  • cambio climático
  • climate change


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