ConsNet is a comprehensive software package for decision support for the design of conservation area networks (CANs) to represent biodiversity features while incorporating a wide range of spatial and other criteria
ConsNet contains tools that can build efficient CANs while taking into account these additional criteria. This software note describes the basic features and principles of ConsNet and presents selected results from a sample data set.
This initial release of ConsNet focuses on multi-criteria variants of the minimum area problem, trying to minimize the number of selected sites while simultaneously optimizing a variety of costs and spatial criteria.
In addition to these spatial criteria, ConsNet allows users to consider an array of auxiliary costs (or benefits) that may be incurred by placing each cell under conservation.
Finally, since the Zonation software takes a different approach to conservation planning, a direct comparison is not straightforward. While it has many unique valuable features, Zonation provides only heuristic solutions, which are not necessarily optimal with respect to the precise goals of the conservation planner.65
Table 1. A quick review of the features in ConsNet.
Features surrogate data
The distributions of the biodiversity surrogates may be presence-absence or probabilistic. cell geometry
The individual cells may be any arbitrary shape, but ConsNet works best with data arranged in a rectangular grid (i.e. GIS raster). spatial analysis
The following spatial characteristics can be considered during optimization: shape, connectivity, alignment, and species specific connectivity (called replication).
An arbitrary array of costs (or benefits) may be assigned to