Optimal design of compact and functionally contiguous conservation management areas

Hayri Önal, Yicheng Wang, Sahan T.M. Dissanayake, James D. Westervelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compactness and landscape connectivity are essential properties for effective functioning of conservation reserves. In this article we introduce a linear integer programming model to determine optimal configuration of a conservation reserve with such properties. Connectivity can be defined either as structural (physical) connectivity or functional connectivity; the model developed here addresses both properties. We apply the model to identify the optimal conservation management areas for protection of Gopher Tortoise (GT) in a military installation, Ft. Benning, Georgia, which serves as a safe refuge for this ‘at risk’ species. The recent expansion in the military mission of the installation increases the pressure on scarce GT habitat areas, which requires moving some of the existent populations in those areas to suitably chosen new conservation management areas within the boundaries of the installation. Using the model, we find the most suitable and spatially coherent management areas outside the heavily used training areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-968
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 16 2016


  • (D) OR in natural resources
  • Compactness
  • Integer programming
  • Landscape connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management

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