Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3051–3071 | Cite as

How to hierarchise species to determine priorities for conservation action? A critical analysis

  • Maëlle Le BerreEmail author
  • Virgile Noble
  • Mathias Pires
  • Frédéric Médail
  • Katia Diadema
Review Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity protection and reserves


Hierarchisation and prioritisation methods represent a crucial step to determine priorities and implement actions in conservation biology: they are required to determine how to allocate available resources to the different components of biodiversity. However, they are very heterogeneous in terms of targets and goals. The main differences are presented with a focus on hierarchisation methods targeting species. This paper reviews 40 studies using 24 different point-scoring or rule-based methods aiming to determine conservation concerns for species. Only the hierarchisation methods targeting species were compared and their differences where highlighted in terms of study area, taxa, criteria assessment and summarisation. Then six different studies using the same hierarchisation method for species were compared as well. This study enables to analyse the different existing methods in order to perform more relevant methodological choices adapted to the objective and the context of each selection process. A consistent framework is designed to help managers to choose an appropriate method using well-defined goals, study areas and taxonomic targets, and take into account data availability.


Hierarchisation Prioritisation Methods Species conservation 



This work was supported by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, and the Direction Régionale de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (DREAL PACA). The authors thank Benoît Strauss for English language improvement.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10531_2019_1820_MOESM1_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 35 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de Porquerolles (CBNMed)HyèresFrance
  2. 2.Aix Marseille Univ, Avignon Univ, CNRS, IRD, IMBE. Technopôle de l’Arbois-MéditerranéeAix-en-Provence cedex 4France

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