Geo-information pyramids for up-to-date and flexible conservation plans : a case study for Transfrontier Conservation Areas
The initiative to link habitat and parks across political borders, to form large Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs), has gained momentum in Africa and the world. TFCAs hold many advantages, one of them being the restoration of habitat connectivity in order to conserve ecosystem functioning. A feasibility study in 2002 highlighted 22 sites as potential TFCAs in southern Africa, and the Peace Parks Foundation is facilitating the implementation of eight of them. This paper describes a methodological framework with which to map remaining large, natural habitat fragments (or remnants) in southern Africa, the distribution, shape and size of which will provide the foundation and stakeholders with information on possible coarse-scale landscape linkages. This framework, which maps remnants, was designed to be transparent, systematic and dynamic to facilitate easy updating as TFCA projects mature, or updated data become available. This is intended to be the first in a series of studies towards developing an integrated, systematic framework for TFCA planning at a sub-continental scale. It does not aim to prioritize remnants or linkages.