Freemark, K. E., M. Meyers, D. White, L. D. Warman, A. R. Kiester, and P. Lumban-Tobing. 2006 Species richness and biodiversity conservation priorities in British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84(1):20-31 WED-05-135
Patterns in the geographic distribution of seven species groups were used to identify important areas for conservation in British Columbia, Canada. Potential priority sites for conservation were determined using an integer programming algorithm that maximized the number of species represented in the minimum number of sites. Sweep analyses were used to determine how well the set of priority sites identified for each species group represented the other species groups. Although areas of highest species richness were different for each species group, they all included sites in the southern interior of British Columbia, where there is limited protection. Furthermore, less than 13% of the distribution ranges for 23 of 25 bird species of special conservation concern were located within existing protected areas. Species at risk of extinction were poorly represented (26%–42%) in priority sets of sites selected for amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, since these sites were generally scattered throughout the province. However, priority sites for species at risk represented 72%–91% of the species in other groups. Therefore, conservation activities in sites identified for such species have the potential to benefit many other species. These sites could be investigated in more detail to augment existing conservation and protection efforts in British Columbia.