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Related software and tools

Marxan is a stand alone program, however, there are several freely available user interfaces and other tools (described below) that can assist with running Marxan.


ZC logo Zonae Cogito Decision Support System

Matt Watts and Rom Stewart from the University of Queensland have written this graphical user interface for the Marxan family of software. It is designed as a simple and robust way to run Marxan analyses and view the results. Due to the integration of open source GIS software, it eliminates the need for an individual or organisation to purchase costly GIS software in order to use Marxan. It is compatible with all versions of Windows up to Windows 7.

Download Zonae Cogito 


C-Plan LogoThe C-Plan Conservation Planning System

C-Plan is a conservation decision support software that links with GIS to map options for achieving explicit conservation targets. It was developed by Matt Watts and Bob Pressey. It acts as a graphical user interface for Marxan and can generate Marxan datasets from C-Plan datasets. It interfaces with either ESRI ArcView 3 GIS or Zonae Cogito to act as the GIS GUI. It is compatible with all versions of Windows up to Windows 7. 

"Work on the development of C-Plan began in 1995. The idea of an interactive software system to present spatial options for conservation management arose from previous work on irreplaceability in the early 1990s (Pressey 1992, 1999; Pressey et al. 1993, 1994b) (Chapter 2). At that time, this research on irreplaceability added a new dimension to the problem of selecting indicative sets of sites to achieve quantitative targets for features such as vegetation types or species (the set covering problem, Camm et al. 1996). The basic ingredients for the set covering problem are: (a) planning units, the sites to be assessed and compared as potential conservation areas, (b) maps of biodiversity features, (c) a target for each feature (e.g. number of hectares of each vegetation type and number of locality records for each species), and (d) a data matrix listing the extent or occurrence of each feature in each planning unit (see Chapter 3). Using these same ingredients, irreplaceability was conceived and implemented as a solution to an important limitation of reserve selection software at the time. The limitation was that any selected set of sites required to achieve targets is usually only one of the many possible sets, all of which differ to some extent in their composition and configuration of individual sites. Therefore, while a single set of sites was, and remains, a useful indication of the requirements for achieving all targets, it provides no information on the relative importance of unselected sites for achieving targets." from Pressey et al. 2009.

Download C-Plan 


CLUZ logo CLUZ – Conservation Land-Use Zoning software

Bob Smith from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent has written a user friendly front end to Marxan called CLUZ. CLUZ is an ESRI ArcView 3 GIS interface that provides users with a dynamic connection with Marxan to run and map results.  CLUZ comes with tutorial exercises that can help guide users through the basics of using Marxan.

Download CLUZ


Reserve Design Game logo Reserve Design Game
The reserve design game is a teaching tool that demonstrates the systematic reserve design concepts that underly Ian Ball and Hugh Possingham's Marxan program. The game was developed by Wayne Rochester and Hugh Possingham at The University of Queensland.

Play the Reserve Design Game

PANDA logos P.A.N.D.A. – Protected Areas Network Design Application for ArcGIS

P.A.N.D.A. is a stand-alone application developed using Visual Basic and ArcObjects. It was developed by Francesca Riolo to provide a user friendly framework for systematic protected areas network design to ARCGIS users. Through the use of P.A.N.D.A. the designer can explore different hypothetical configurations of a system of protected areas in the planning area. Conservation achievements and associated costs of each scenario are based on the available data and knowledge.

Download P.A.N.D.A

 NatureServe Vista

NatureServe Vista is an ArcView 9.x extension that provides a conservation planning framework from initial data and knowledge gathering to threat assessment to plan development. It contains a wizard to create input files for Marxan and import Marxan results into a planning and policy environment.

Download NatureServe Vista


The Nature Conservancy logoThe Nature Conservancy- Protected Area Tools (PAT) software

The Nature Conservancy has a new Protected Area Tools (PAT) v. 2.0 tutorial and website.  The PAT software is compatible with ArcGIS 9.2 and consists of three conservation modules: Environmental Risk Surface (ERS), Relative Biodiversity Index (RBI) and Marxan tools.

Download Protected Area Tools


E B M Tools Network Logo The Ecosystem Based Management Tools website allows users to search for dozens of tools for coastal marine and watershed ecosystem based management.

Visit The Ecosystem Based Management Tools website



Marxan at Work
The Boundary Length Modifier (BLM) allows you to control how much clustering will occur in your reserve. This example is from a project in Western Australia at Rottnest Island.

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