The Project Prioritisation Protocol: a tool for allocating funds to threatened species

The world is currently experiencing a massive biodiversity crisis, with species extinction rates that are estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. For example, over the last 100 years there have been 33 documented extinctions, including 16 birds, 9 terrestrial invertebrates and 6 vascular plans in New Zealand alone. Since conservation funds are grossly inadequate to address this crisis, it is essential to develop simple strategies for allocating limited resources to help governments and organisations conserve threatened species.

In 2008, researchers within CBCS, in close association with the New Zealand Department of Conservation, developed a rational and transparent approach to help solve this complicated problem: the project prioritization protocol (PPP). PPP enables the identification of a suite of actions that saves as many species as possible, particularly those that are threatened with extinction. Its successful application in New Zealand has given other states and countries the confidence to consider a rational approach to funding threatened species.  Here in Australia, the New South Wales Government adopted a version of ‘conservation triage’ based on this cost-effectiveness approach of PPP in late 2013. The program, called Saving our Species, provides a coherent framework for conservation of threatened species and will help rationally allocate millions of dollars of government funds to improve the plight of threatened species in New South Wales.

 

Photo credit: Zoe Stone.

Project members

Professor Hugh Possingham

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science