CLUZ (Conservation Land-Use Zoning software) is a QGIS plug-in that allows users to design protected area networks and other conservation landscapes and seascapes. It can be used for on-screen planning and also acts as a link for the Marxan conservation planning software. It was developed by Bob Smith and funded by the Global Environment Fund as part of the PARCC project, which was led by UNEP-WCMC.
Marxan was developed by researchers at The Ecology Centre of the University of Queensland. It is designed to identify priority areas for conservation that meet biodiversity targets, whilst minimising costs and achieving connectivity.
CLUZ, Marxan and QGIS are all freely available open-source software packages.
CLUZ and Marxan work by dividing the planning region into a series of planning units, listing the distribution of the conservation features found in each planning units, setting targets for the amount of each feature to be included in the conservation landscape and using computer software to identify portfolios of units that best meet these targets.
The three ways that CLUZ can be used to develop these conservation land-use plans are:
Marxan identifies near-optimal combinations of planning units that meet specified conservation targets. It does this by running the same analysis a set number of times and identifying the most efficient solution. Incorporating boundary costs into the process ensures that patches of contiguous units are selected, which increases the real-world applicability of the final outputs.
Marxan also records the number of times that each unit is selected in each of the different runs. This selection frequency score can be seen as a measure of irreplaceability, so that units that are selected in every run could be considered irreplaceable (based on their biodiversity value, cost and importance for maintaining connectivity). CLUZ can display these scores and the resultant maps are valuable because they give a conservation value for each planning unit.
3) Using CLUZ to interactively create and modify existing plans
CLUZ can also be used to develop and modify conservation plans by interactively adding and removing units. These interactive functions automatically update information on how the selected units meet the conservation targets. CLUZ can also be used to display the distribution of each biodiversity element and to identify suitable units for swapping with selected units that are in unsuitable locations.
The CLUZ files
CLUZ is a plugin for QGIS and (subject to approval) will shortly be available for download through the QGIS Plugins Manager. CLUZ has been tested on QGIS v2.6 and above but please install the latest version of QGIS.
CLUZ tutorial exercise 1: cluz_ex1.zip
CLUZ tutorial exercise 2: cluz_ex2.zip
v2015.7.12 – Initial public release