Code and publicly available data sets from A test of Conserving Nature's Stage: protecting a diversity of geophysical traits can also support a diversity of species at a landscape scale

  • Stephanie N. Miller (Creator)
  • Paul Beier (Center for Large Landscape Conservation) (Creator)
  • Fabio Suzart de Albuquerque (Contributor)



Conserving Nature's Stage (CNS) is a concept from conservation planning that promotes the protection of areas encompassing a broad range of enduring geophysical traits to provide long-term habitat for diverse species. The efficacy of using enduring geophysical characteristics as surrogates for biodiversity, independent of non-geophysical features and when considering finer resolution area selections, has yet to be investigated. Here, we evaluated CNS using 33 fine-scale inventories of vascular plant, non-vascular plant, invertebrate or vertebrate species from 13 areas across three continents. For each inventory, we estimated a continuous multidimensional surrogate defined from topographic and soil estimates of the surveyed plots. We assessed surrogate effectiveness of by comparing the species representation of surrogate selected plots to the representation from plots picked randomly and using species information. We then used correlation coefficients to assess the link between the performance and qualities of the inventories, surroundings and surrogates. The CNS surrogate showed positive performance for 24 of the 33 inventories, and among these tests, represented 28 more species than random and 83% of the total number of species on average. We also found a small number of weak correlations between performance and environmental variability, as well as qualities of the surrogate. Our study demonstrates that prioritizing areas for a variety of geophysical characteristics will, in most cases, promote the representation of species. Our findings also point to areas for future research that might enhance CNS surrogacy.This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘Geodiversity science for society’.
Date made available2024
PublisherThe Royal Society

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