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Open AccessArticle

Spatial Identification of Statewide Areas for Conservation Focus in New Mexico: Implications for State Conservation Efforts

Center for Applied Spatial Ecology, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
USDA Forest Service, Hathaway Pines, CA 94592, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2011, 3(2), 275-295;
Received: 4 May 2011 / Accepted: 13 June 2011 / Published: 16 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity, Conservation and Ecosystem Management)
Landscape scale conservation planning efforts have been in place for the past several decades to maintain biodiversity. Objectives of past efforts have been to identify areas to create reserves based on species diversity, land ownership, and landscape context. Risk analysis has not often been included in these spatial analyses. Datasets such as the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis (SWReGAP) are now available as are processes that allow risk analysis to be viewed in a spatial context in relations to factors that affect habitats over broad scales. We describe a method to include four spatial datasets to provide coarse scale delineation on areas to focus conservation including species numbers, key habitats, land management and factors that influence habitats. We used the SWReGAP management status dataset to identify management categories for long-term intent of management for biodiversity. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish identified a set of 290 Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Species occurrences for these species were associated with hydrologic unit codes from the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). Key habitats were identified by using the SWReGAP land cover dataset and NHD derivatives. Factors that influence habitats were identified and scored for 89 land cover types and 23 aquatic habitats identified by the NMDGF. Our final model prioritizes landscapes that are within key habitats, have high numbers of terrestrial and aquatic Species of Greatest Conservation Need taxa, may be potentially altered by multiple effects that influence habitats, and lack long-term legally-binding management plans protecting them from anthropogenic degradation. Similar to other efforts, riparian and aquatic habitats were identified as the most important for conservation. This information may be displayed spatially, allowing land managers and decision makers to understand the ecological context where multiple effects of potential factors may influence some habitats greater than others, and repeat process with CWCS revisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation priorities; species of greatest conservation need; landscape stressors conservation priorities; species of greatest conservation need; landscape stressors
MDPI and ACS Style

Boykin, K.G.; Young, K.E.; Guy, R.K. Spatial Identification of Statewide Areas for Conservation Focus in New Mexico: Implications for State Conservation Efforts. Diversity 2011, 3, 275-295.

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