2011). Although VEAC had already recommended setting aside 4000 giga-liters every 5 years for environmental flows, new estimates of runoff that had taken climate change into account suggested that
the amount of water available for environmental flows could be reduced as much as 32% over earlier projections. Even modest climate change scenarios implied that water necessary for natural overbank flows that sustain the ecosystem would not be available in many parts of the system and that new infrastructure would be required in the future to deliver those environmental flows (Aldous et check details al. 2011). Assumptions There are two important assumptions to the process and function approach that have limited its use. The first is that we have sufficient understanding and data on the most important ecological processes to design and implement conservation strategies for them (Possingham et al. 2005). Although ecologists
increasingly understand the role of fire AZD2281 in vivo and nutrient cycling in many ecosystems, as well as the importance of natural flow regimes in aquatic ecosystems, many ecosystem processes and functions remain poorly understood. The second assumption is that we can identify Adriamycin molecular weight spatial data (e.g., the spatial distribution of riparian areas) to serve as surrogates for these processes and functions (Klein et al. 2009) or models to simulate disturbance regimes that can be used in conservation planning exercises (Leroux
et al. 2007). Significant progress is being made in this regard. In the Cape Floristic region of South Africa, for example, Pressey et al. (2003) were able to identify an extensive variety of ecological processes ranging from animal migrations to the movement of coastal sediments, and spatial surrogates to represent these processes in regional plans. Trade-offs Because an approach focused on sustaining process and function involves identifying new targets and objectives in systematic conservation planning, the trade-offs are potentially significant. Shifting conservation objectives from maintaining individual elements of biodiversity (e.g., species or habitats) towards maintaining Abiraterone specific ecological processes or functions may require compromising on both the extent and effectiveness of biodiversity representation within the networks of conservation areas that emerge from regional conservation plans (see Klein et al. 2009 for an exploration of potential trade-offs). Similarly, if this approach leads to setting priorities for areas that we otherwise might not conserve, such as degraded lands that are critical to certain functions, a potential trade-off is that the conservation of ecologically intact land and seascapes may be jeopardized.