Marxan is a conservation software tool that, depending on the particular target and constrains of input data, produces spatial reserve systems for conservation purposes. It is the most popular systematic reserve software used in the world, and has been applied to conserving the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Farallon Islands, Callifornia, and East Kalimantan, Indonesia, among other regions. It is a very flexible –and hence useful– in that it can incorporate spatially variable cost when computing efficient conservation planning, and that the computation method it adopts (simulated annealing) generates near-optimal solutions. The wide use of Marxan in various scenarios and contexts has also helped the developers to improve the software and its computation power.

Further Readings:

» Marxan and relatives: software for spatial conservation prioritization (Ball et al., 2009)
» Marxan with zones: software for optimal conservation based land- and sea-use zoning (Watts et al., 2009)
» Marxan user manual and documentations (University of Queensland)
» Establishing representative no-take areas in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale implementation of theory on marine protected areas (Fernandes et al., 2005)