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Marxan R & D
Latest R&D

A major focus of our research is developing Marxan software to incorporate a number of practical modifications to improve its utilitity as a conservation planning and natural resource management tool. This has led to the release of the new software; Marxan with zones, and the development of support materials to assist its uptake by the conservation planning community. A number of recent developments are summarized below.

Software Development

Marxan with Zones
Marxan with zones is novel in that it introduces zoning as a formal consideration of the conservation planning problem. This advancement represents a shift away from the basic reserve design problem towards a multiple zone scheme that supports the efficient allocation of resources across a range of different uses. At its simplest, the zoning approach can be used to identify two types of zones, with targets being set for each zone type.  

Our current studies examine problems related to: biosphere reserves, multiple-use marine parks, off reserve marine planning, and multiple use terrestrial forestry planning. These example applications apply the Marxan with zones software to address more complex problems by considering multiple zones with different targets, planning unit costs and biodiversity benefits for each zone. 

Download Marxan with Zones

Zonae Cogito GIS Interface
Marxan users can now interact with the Marxan family of software via a user-friendly interface called Zonae Cognito. Featuring an integrated open-source GIS, users can now eliminate the need to purchase costly commercial GIS software to view marxan outputs. It is a freely available software package that serves as a decision support system and database management system for Marxan software. 

Download Zonae Cogito

New Marxan version
Marxan is now twice as fast, and has support for Zonae Cogito.

Download Marxan


Support Materials


Marxan with Zones User Manuals

Watts, M. E., C. K. Klein, R. R. Stewart, I. R. Ball, and H. P. Possingham. 2008. Marxan with Zones (V1.0.1): Conservation Zoning using Spatially Explicit Annealing, a Manual. pdf (676KB)

Watts, M.E., C. Steinback, C. Klein. 2008. Applying Marxan with Zones to North central coast of California. User Guide. pdf (1,510KB)

Zonae Cogito User Manual

Watts, M.E., R.R. Stewart, D. Segan, L. Kircher: Using the Zonae Cogito Decision Support System, a Manual. pdf (1,288KB)

Marxan User Manual
PacMARA and the University of Queensland have written an enhanced user's manual for the Marxan software. Previous documentation was a mixture of mathematical theory and technical input data requirements and did not fully meet the needs of all tool users. The new manual will facilitate understanding of the core software and is being translated into Spanish. The new Maxan User Manual is available from PacMARA and below: 

Game, E.T. and H.S. Grantham, 2008. Marxan User Manual: For Marxan version 1.8.10. University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, and Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. pdf (4,983KB)

New Marxan Website
Learning about software updates and case studies were the main reasons cited by Marxan users for visiting the Marxan website.  We have revised and redeveloped the marxan website to ensure it meets the needs of the Marxan community by incorporating a number of useful suggestions for improvement.  Tell us what you think of the new Marxan website by contacting Lindsay Kircher at

Marxan at Work
Klein et al. (2008a) incorporate ecological and evolutionary processes into a conservation planning project for Australia.

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