# Reserve Design to Maximize Species Persistence

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## Abstract

We develop a reserve design strategy to maximize the probability of species persistence predicted by a stochastic, individual-based, metapopulation model. Because the population model does not fit exact optimization procedures, our strategy involves deriving promising solutions from theory, obtaining promising solutions from a simulation optimization heuristic, and determining the best of the promising solutions using a multiple-comparison statistical test. We use the strategy to address a problem of allocating limited resources to new and existing reserves. The best reserve design depends on emigration, dispersal mortality, and probabilities of movement between reserves. When movement probabilities are symmetric, the best design is to expand a subset of reserves to equal size to exhaust the habitat budget. When movement probabilities are not symmetric, the best design does not expand reserves to equal size and is strongly affected by movement probabilities and emigration rates. We use commercial simulation software to obtain our results.

## Keywords

Optimization Population viability Reserve site selection Resource allocation Search heuristic Simulation optimization Stochastic population model## References

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