Module 5 – T4 Training

The training content of Module 5 - T4 Systematic Conservation Planning in Marine Ecosystems was prepared by Dr. Michela Pacifici, a post-doc researcher in the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at Sapienza University of Rome.

In Module 5: T4. Systematic Conservation Planning in Marine Ecosystems training, a total of 10 videos, seven of which are theoretical information and three of which are practical exercises, have been uploaded to the IFISH E-Learning Platform. In Module 5: T4 training, the principles that constitute the basis for systematic conservation planning were presented.

The first part of the Module 5: T4 training presents the different methods used to determine which sites should be protected. These include ad hoc selection, threshold based methods and target based methods. Systematic conservation planning is considered the most powerful target based method. Before discussing target based methods in detail, the process of how to perform a gap analysis was presented. Gap analysis helps to identify the “gaps” in the protected area network, so those areas containing relevant biodiversity elements that are not yet protected. This theoretical part of the training will provide insight on different aspects related to conservation planning, and the trainees will be able to: 1) establish the most appropriate conservation planning method to apply, taking into consideration the objective(s) that stakeholders have when they decide to expand the current protected area network, 2) follow all the steps needed to create a new reserve system using systematic conservation planning analysis, 3) run a gap analysis to identify gaps in the existing protected area network, 4) understand main advantages and limitations associated to each method.

The second part of the Module 5:T4 training consists of a practical exercise using the “prioritizr” package using the free statistical software R. The first video explains how to download the Gurobi optimizer, which will be fundamental to solve conservation prioritization problems with prioritizr. The second part of the exercise explains how to prepare the planning unit layer in QGIS, a free GIS software that will be the basis for identifying the sites to include in the final protected area system. The last part of the exercise explains how to run systematic conservation planning problems with the prioritizr package in R, applying progressive levels of complexity.

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