C-Plan Conservation Planning System
Description and method logic
C-Plan is used to assess options for achieving conservation targets and to guide decisions about areas to be protected or developed.
C-Plan is an interactive software-based decision support tool designed to work in conjunction with geographical information system (GIS) software to map options for achieving conservation targets. It is based on irreplaceability, which is a measure of the likelihood of needing a particular site in a region for achieving conservation targets. High irrepaceability values indicate few to no replacements and low values indicate many possible replacements.
The decision support system was first developed in 1995-6 to support Regional Forest Agreements and conservation planning in New South Wales. It has also been applied to freshwater and marine systems across the world ranging from global to local government scales. There is an interface with Marxan software.
C-Plan allows users to map options for achieving explicit conservation targets. It also allows users to define which sites are to be placed under conservation management and generates a new pattern of options resulting from this. The main components are:
The C-Plan functions consist of code that estimates irreplaceability using a statistical estimator, communicate between the system’s three main components, and support interactive functions related to individual sites or networks of sites and ways of selecting sites for consideration.
The database engine offers a formal way of storing large tabular data sets. It uses structured query language (SQL) for the selection of sites of interest, and facilitates linking C-Plan to a GIS system.
The GIS system currently links with ESRI to provide a graphical interface, spatial information and geoprocessing potential.
Criteria groupings of the method
Spatial data: site, feature (biological, physical, social, economic or other variables) and feature target (desired target or threshold for a specific feature). The range of data included in each of these inputs can be very broad.
C-Plan accepts three types of inputs:
Other spatial data can also be incorporated such as roads and other infrastructure.
C-Plan requires experience with conservation planning and GIS software.
C-Plan software, Microsoft operating system, GIS software and access to spatial datasets.
The program output comes in the form of tables, maps or diagrams used for decision support. These outputs include information on site characteristics, similar characteristics across sites, and the extent to which the conservation targets have been reached.
Criteria by category
Physical and chemical
Management and planning
C-Plan can be used by those familiar with conservation planning concepts and GIS. The results could be useful for government agencies, natural resource managers and others.
Brigalow Belt South biogeographic region
Cape Byron Marine Park
Cobar Peneplain biogeographic region
Georges River catchment
Lower Hunter and Central Coast local government areas
Manning Shelf, Hawkesbury Shelf, Batemans Shelf and Twofold Shelf marine bioregions
Regional Forest Agreements: Comprehensive assessment for the Eden Management Area
Regional Forest Agreements: Comprehensive assessment, southern region
Regional Forest Agreements: Comprehensive assessment, upper and lower north-east regions
Regional Forest Agreements: Interim Assessment Process (NSW)
Riverina biogeographic region
Last updated: 15 December 2020
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2020) C-Plan Conservation Planning System, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2023. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/c-plan-conservation-planning-system/