Marxan out of the ‘box’

More than a sales pitch

“Marxan is the most widely used software in the world for supporting the design and implementation of marine and terrestrial reserve systems.” That’s a line many readers would have seen in several stories on Marxan appearing in Decision Point over the years. While it’s demonstrably true, this line is increasingly sounding like a glib sales pitch, possibly because it’s so often repeated. People hear ‘Marxan’ and they switch off. I would even confess to being in this camp. I’m told there’s a particular conservation planning challenge, the black box called Marxan is wheeled out, data is fed in, solutions are spat out, end of story!

Last month I was invited to observe an ‘Introduction to Marxan’ workshop being run at the University of Queensland. Watching a fresh cohort of conservation researchers and practitioners going through the Marxan driving course has changed my mind. A one-line sales pitch simply doesn’t do justice to Marxan. To make amends for my earlier cynicism, I’m going to try and convince you of that, too…




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