CLUZ (Conservation Land-Use Zoning software) is an ArcView v3 GIS interface that allows users to design protected area networks and conservation landscapes. 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 British Government through their Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species.
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 and Marxan are two pieces of software that have been developed to allow this type of planning to be carried out by conservation practitioners and researchers. They 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 main ways that CLUZ can be used to develop these conservation land-use plans are:
1) Using Marxan to identify near-optimal conservation landscapes
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.
2) Using Marxan to produce selection frequency scores
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.