Considerable resources must be allocated for fulfilling the Habitat Directive and the question of optimal allocation is as important as it is difficult. In the present study, we estimate the expected species coverage of three non-probabilistic strategies: i) a maximum selected area strategy, ii) a hotspot selection strategy, and iii) a minimising cost strategy, and one probabilistic strategy a maximum expected coverage strategy. We show that the optimal network changes considerably with strategies. Thus, the study provides insights which may guide conservation authorities on how to target their actions so that they accomplish the most with limited budgets, while acknowledging the uncertainty of species presence. We finally discuss how welfare economic evaluations of conservation targets could be included in such conservation policy analysis.


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