Bayesian networks and the quest for reserve adequacy

Adam W. Schapaugh, Andrew J. Tyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The fundamental goal of conservation planning is biodiversity persistence, yet most reserve selection methods prioritize sites using occurrence data. We describe a method that integrates correlates of persistence for multiple species into a single currency - site quality. Site quality is, in turn, an explicit measure of performance used in optimization. We develop a Bayesian network to assess site quality, which assigns an expected value to a property based on criteria arrayed into a causal diagram. We then use stochastic dynamic programming to determine whether an organization should acquire or reject a site placed on the public market. Our framework for assessing sites and making land acquisition decisions represents a compromise between the use of generic spatial design criteria and more intensive computational tools, like spatially-explicit population models. There is certainly a loss of precision by using site quality as a surrogate for more direct measures of persistence. However, we believe this simplification is defensible when sufficient data, expertise, or other resources are lacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Bayesian network
  • Interior least tern
  • Persistence
  • Piping plover
  • Reserve adequacy
  • Reserve selection
  • Stochastic dynamic programming
  • Whooping crane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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