Smith Fellows
Smith Fellow


The Nature Conservancy's Islands Bioreserve Program has long had an interest in the establishment of a reserve network to protect the sandplain natural communities that occur on the Massachusetts islands. Development and fire suppression have caused a decline in the prevalence of the sandplain natural communities, which provide habitat for 34 rare species in Massachusetts. The design of this network offers the opportunity to explore a question that is commonly faced in the creation of reserves. The criteria on which potential sites are judged for their inclusion in a reserve network depend, in part, on the scale of resolution at which the sites are described. These scale-dependent criteria may vary in their effectiveness at capturing the range of biodiversity that is desirable for reserves. There may also be huge differences in the costs of acquiring data for the criteria at different scales. It would be advantageous to know whether certain scales were consistently more efficient. I will employ five different scales of resolution to determine the criteria for the design of a reserve network for the sandplain natural communities. Each criteria list, along with three criteria common to all scales, will be used in a multiobjective programming model (MOP) to identify the network alternatives that represent an optimal compromise between the criteria. The relative efficiency between scales will be evaluated on seven dimensions. The tradeoffs between the criteria within each scale will be examined based on the results of the MOP analyses. I will present my results and recommendations to the Islands Program. I will also develop a "user's manual" detailing the implementation of these methods for other locations and explaining site-specific conditions that may influence the applicability of any particular scale of resolution. This project will provide information that can improve the speed and confidence with which future reserve networks are created.


Rothley, K. D. 2002. Use of multiobjective optimization models to examine behavioural trade-offs of white-tailed deer habitat use in forest harvesting experiments. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 32:1275-1284.

Rothley, K. D. 2002. Dynamically-based criteria for the identification of optimal bioreserve networks. Environmental Modeling and Assessment 7(2):123-128.

Rothley, K. D. 2001. Manipulative, multi-standard test of white-tailed deer habitat suitability model. Journal of Wildlife Management 65(4):953-963

Rothley, K. D., Berger, C. N., Gonzalez, C., Webster, E. M., and Rubenstein, D. I. In review. Combining strategies to design reserves in fragmented landscapes.

Rothley, K. D., and Levin, S. A. In review. Indirect effects and the selection of bioindicators.