Planning, implementing, and monitoring multiple-species habitat conservation plans

Janet Franklin, Helen M. Regan, Lauren A. Hierl, Douglas H. Deutschman, Brenda S. Johnson, Clark S. Winchell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Premise of the study: Despite numerous recommendations for various aspects of the design and monitoring of habitat conservation plans, there remains a need to synthesize existing guidelines into a comprehensive scheme and apply it to real-world conservation programs. Methods: We review tools for systematic conservation planning and elements for designing and implementing ecological monitoring in an adaptive management context. We apply principles of monitoring design to the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) in California, USA - one of the first multispecies habitat conservation plans, located in a landscape where high biodiversity and urban development converge. Key results: Tools for spatial conservation planning are aimed to conserve biodiversity, often in the context of a limited budget. In practice, these methods may not accommodate legislative mandates, budgetary uncertainties, and the range of implementation mechanisms available across consortia of stakeholders. Once a reserve is implemented, the question becomes whether it is effective at conserving biodiversity, and if not, what actions are required to make it effective. In monitoring plan development, status and threats should be used to prioritize species and communities that require management action to ensure their persistence. Conceptual models documenting the state of knowledge of the system should highlight the main drivers affecting status and trends of species or communities. Monitoring strategies require scientifically justified decisions based on sampling, response, and data design. Conclusions: Because the framework illustrated here tackles multiple species, communities, and threats at the urban-wildland interface, it will have utility for ecosystem managers struggling to design monitoring programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-571
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation reserves
  • Ecological monitoring
  • Habitat conservation plan
  • Landscape
  • Multiple species
  • Prioritization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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