[Marxan] New paper: A comparison of scenarios for rural development planning and conservation in the DRC

Janet Ruth Nackoney jnackone at umd.edu
Wed Jun 19 04:52:54 EST 2013

Hello Marxan list,

A new paper has just been published by Biological Conservation focusing on rural development planning in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  We used Marxan to compare scenarios of future 2050 agricultural expansion in our study area given assumptions about population growth, per capita agricultural expansion rates, land cover and land use, and locations of conservation priority areas. 

The paper can be accessed (with academic subscription) here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320713001122

The citation is:
Nackoney, J. and D. Williams (2013). A comparison of scenarios for rural development planning and conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Biological Conservation 164: 140-149.

I have pasted the Abstract below.  


Janet Nackoney, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Dept. of Geographical Sciences
University of Maryland
4321 Hartwick Rd, Suite 410
College Park, MD 20740
Email: jnackone at umd.edu
Phone: 301-405-8895


Including a diverse set of stakeholders in collaborative land use planning processes is facilitated by data and maps that communicate and inform an array of possible planning options and potential scenarios of future land use change.  In northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has engaged stakeholders and the DRC Government to lead a participatory zoning process in the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba (MLW) Landscape.  To assist landscape scale macro-zoning efforts, we employed a spatial allocation decision support tool called Marxan to develop a set of three scenarios of potential human and agricultural expansion for 2050.  The results offer guidance to stakeholders and assist decision-makers in determining the most suitable land for inclusion in a proposed Rural Development Zone (RDZ), designed to accommodate the expansion of agricultural activities and subsequent deforestation, while considering conservation priority areas.  We used data describing current patterns of human activity, including historical primary forest loss, land cover suitability for agricultural activity, and presence of important wildlife connectivity zones and protected areas to identify locations where future agricultural expansion might be encouraged.  We found that future agricultural demands can be met by expansion around historically intensive agricultural areas in the eastern portion of MLW without significantly compromising conservation priority areas.  Wildlife connectivity zones are most vulnerable to future agricultural expansion because of their proximity to current agricultural activity.  Our results demonstrate the need to prioritize conservation action in these areas and illustrate how competing needs might be balanced in planning for both agricultural expansion and terrestrial biological conservation in this landscape.

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