GeoDesign Knowledge Portal

MARXAN With Zones

Reserve network optimization tool.

Indicators Used

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 binary reserve design problem towards a multiple zone scheme. It is a substantial extension of the Marxan software designed to enhance the functionality of its elder sibling, providing many alternative multiple-use zoning options in geographical regions for conservation. The zoning plans meet a variety of conservation and human-use objectives while their total cost of implementation is minimized. These costs can include: The cost of reservation; Cost of management; Opportunity costs; Other constraints. This novel functionality provides the flexibility to address a range of complex spatial planning problems. We hope Marxan with Zones will attract wide use in a range of conservation planning problems beyond those solvable by Marxan. It differs from Marxan in these ways: Multiple zones or actions can be used; Each parcel of land or sea can be allocated to a specific zone; Each of the zones has their own actions, objectives and constraints; Economic, social, cultural and biological spatial features can be used as both objectives and constraints. Those wishing to apply Marxan with Zones should first become familiar with Marxan.

Accepts Data Of Process Types

Ardron, J. and C.J. Klein (Eds.), 2008. Marxan good practices handbook. University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, and Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. pdf (3.69 MB) also available at

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.

Hugh Possingham et al. 2000. Mathematical methods for identifying representative reserve networks. []

Platform (No Longer Available)

Development Status

All (User Specified Application Domain)

Biodiversity Conservation

Estuarine, Coastal And Marine Management

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

Alternative Evaluation

Reserve System

Site Search Or Selection


All (User Specified Domain Knowledge Modeling Area)

Estuarine And Marine Ecosystem Modeling

Landscape Analysis And Modeling

Management Process Modeling

Socioeconomic System Modeling

Tool Maker

Alternative Generation

Rank Alternatives


Analysis Extent

Simulated Annealing

Trade-Off Analysis

For Application Domains


For Application Domains

Biophysical Process

Economic Process

Management Process

Social Process

User Defined Process

Contact Email

Text File (.TXT)

Glossary Display Property

Text File (.TXT)

Contact Person

All (User Defined Analysis Extent)

Regional Extent

Subregional Extent

Parent Categories



Forest Fragmentation

Forest Management Classes

Species Diversity

Accepts Data Of Process Types


Planning And Decision Process Phases/Steps Served

Windows 2000

Windows 95/98

Windows NT

Windows XP

Accepts Data Of Process Types



Zonae Cogito

Supports Analysis Of Interdisciplinary Interactions

Optimization: The engine, MARXAN.exe, primarily uses simulated annealing to find near-optimal solutions, but it also includes a variety of less sophisticated, but often faster, heuristic algorithms, such as "summed irreplaceability" (Leslie et al. in press; McDonnell et al. 2002).Other: A separate graphic user interface is provided for setting up input data and run options for the engine. MARXAN does not provide graphic display of design solutions, but its output data are easily imported into GIS applications such as ArcView 3.2 of ArcGIS 8.x


Some Scientific Background

Accepts Data Of Process Types

Some Computer/GIS Programming Skills

Tools That This Tool Works With


Developer Assistance Needed For Installation/Configuration




Tools That This Tool Works With

Regularly Distributed

Description Of System Components

The Ecology Centre, The University Of Queensland

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network

Methods And Techniques Implemented

Hugh Possingham

Indicators Used

Analysis Unit

Martin Wong

Decision Problem Types Targeted

Software Tools And Models - All

Spatial Decision Support Systems

Indicators Used

Martin Wong

Planning And Decision Process Phases/Steps Served




Decision Process Activity Types Served

Alternative Ranking, Decision Making

Decision Alternatives Generation, Scenario Simulation


Model Type

Spatial Decision Support Systems


Decision Model

Evaluative Models

Graphical Ontology Browser

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IntroductionGeodesign Problem TypesPlanning/Decision ContextPlanning And Spatial Decision ProcessMethods And Techniques
methods and techniques; methodology
TechnologyData And Domain KnowledgePeople And ParticipationGeodesign Resources