University of Oulu

Frederico Santarém, Paulo Pereira, Jarkko Saarinen, José Carlos Brito, New method to identify and map flagship fleets for promoting conservation and ecotourism, Biological Conservation, Volume 229, 2019, Pages 113-124, ISSN 0006-3207,

New method to identify and map flagship fleets for promoting conservation and ecotourism

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Author: Santarém, Frederico1,2,3; Pereira, Paulo1,2; Saarinen, Jarkko3,4;
Organizations: 1CIBIO/InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto, R. Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
2Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
4School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-01-08


Evaluating flagship species and their potential for biological preservation and ecotourism development is a key issue for many audiences within the conservation and social fields. Despite several methods available to identify flagships, their application is often constrained in remote, poorly studied regions. Developments are needed in statistical and spatially-explicit approaches to assess species’ traits influencing flagship appealing, to identify flagship fleets, and to map the location of flagship hotspots. Here, we developed a new method to identify flagship species in regions with knowledge gaps, using a two-stage statistical approach (ordination and clustering algorithms) to assess variable’s contribution to appealing and to group species sharing similar characteristics into flagship fleets. We then mapped areas concentrating the highest richness of flagships. Unique morphologies and behaviours, conservation status, endemicity, body size and weight, and feeding habits were the traits contributing the most to the flagship appealing. Nine flagship fleets were identified, from which two were the most suitable for conservation marketing and ecotourism promotion campaigns in Sahara-Sahel: Fleet A comprising 36 large-bodied species (18 mammals, 18 reptiles) and Fleet B including 70 small-bodied species (10 birds, six mammals, 54 reptiles). A total of 19 and 16 hotspots were identified for large-bodied and small-bodied flagships, respectively. The methodology was suitable to identify flagship species for conservation marketing and for developing ecotourism operations in the Sahara-Sahel, to independently assess which species’ traits are relevant for flagship appealing, and to organise fleets for multispecies-based marketing campaigns. The framework is scalable and replicable worldwide.

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Series: Biological conservation
ISSN: 0006-3207
ISSN-E: 1873-2917
ISSN-L: 0006-3207
Volume: 229
Pages: 113 - 124
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.10.017
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: Study partially funded by Rufford Foundation (17893-1), and by AGRIGEN–NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000007, supported by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). FS, PP, and JCB are supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia through grants PD/BD/132407/2017 and PD/BD/128492/2017 and contract IF/00459/2013, respectively. JS is supported by Academy of Finland, grant number 272168.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272168
Detailed Information: 272168 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license