Effective wildlife management requires knowledge about the areas th at are most important within the distribution range or specific management unit of the focal species. Using the spatial conservation planning tool, Zonation, and spatial data on Finnish forests, we present a fast and relatively simple way to objectively prioritise large areas for our focal species, the capercaillie Tetrao urogallus. We constructed the capercaillie lekking landscape prioritisation using published knowledge on the species' habitat and connectivity requirements, and validated the results via comparison to capercaillie lekking-site data. The results show that connectivity considerations both at the home range and the population scale are essential in prioritisation of areas suitable for capercaillie lekking sites. In addition, inclusion of negative connectivity to agri-urban areas further enhances the congruence between the known lekking sites and the areas of high priority (48.7% of known leks falling into the best 20% priority category). We conclude that our approach can be used in several stages of spatial wildlife conservation planning: as a preliminary analysis to find areas subjected to more detailed inventories and modelling, in combination with other analytical tools, or as the main instrument enabling informative use of readily available data in operational large-scale land-use planning. The advantages of our approach include: 1) the ability to execute relatively simple and objective analyses covering wide spatial extents at a high resolution, 2) the possibility to incorporate several ecologically realistic species-specific connectivity components into the analyses, and 3) the potential to help managers target wildlife surveys or conservation and management operations.
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Vol. 18 • No. 4