Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

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Delavenne J.,Institute Ifremer | Metcalfe K.,University of Kent | Smith R.J.,University of Kent | Vaz S.,Institute Ifremer | And 4 more authors.
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2012

The systematic conservation approach is now commonly used for the design of efficient marine protected area (MPA) networks, and identifying these priority areas often involves using specific conservation-planning software. Several such software programmes have been developed in recent years, each differing in the underlying algorithms used. Here, an investigation is made into whether the choice of software influences the location of priority areas by comparing outputs from Marxan and Zonation, two widely used conservation-planning, decision-support tools. Using biological and socio-economic data from the eastern English Channel, outputs are compared and it is shown that the two software packages identified similar sets of priority areas, although the relatively wide distribution of habitat types and species considered offered much flexibility. Moreover, the similarity increased with increasing spatial constraint, especially when using real-world cost data, suggesting that the choice of cost metric has a greater influence on conservation-planning analyses than the choice of software. However, Marxan generally produced more efficient results and Zonation produced results with greater connectivity, so the most appropriate software package will depend on the overall goals of the MPA planning process. © 2011 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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