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To model the landscape as a network: A practitioner's perspective
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 119, 35-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent years have shown a rapid increase in the number of published studies that advocate network analysis (graph theory) to ecologically manage landscapes that suffer from fragmentation and loss of connectivity. This paper studies the reasons, benefits and difficulties of using network analysis to manage landscape fragmentation in the practice of land-use planning. The results are based on interviews with thirteen municipal ecologists and environmental planners in Stockholm, Sweden, who had been introduced to a GIS-tool for network-based connectivity analysis. Our results indicate that fragmentation is not considered enough in municipal planning and demonstrate that none of the interviewed practitioners used systematic methods to assess landscape connectivity. The practitioners anticipate that network-level and patch-level connectivity measures and maps would help them to communicate the meaning and implications of connectivity to other actors in the planning process, and to better assess the importance of certain habitats affected by detailed plans. The main difficulties of implementing network-based connectivity analyses reported by the respondents related to the choice of focal species and the lack of model input in terms of landscape data and dispersal distances. The main strengths were expressed by the practitioners as graphical, quantitative and credible results; the ability to compare planning alternatives and to find critical sites in a more objective manner than today; and to relate local planning and ecology to the regional structure of the landscape. Many respondents stressed the role of fragmentation assessments in the endeavor to overcome current spatial mismatches of ecological and administrative scales.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 119, 35-43 p.
Keyword [en]
Planning, Landscape, Connectivity, Fragmentation, Graph theory, Network
National Category
Environmental Sciences Physical Geography Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95740DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.06.009ISI: 000325196300004OAI: diva2:662491


Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-04 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Avoiding the negative effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity is especially challenging when also the management institutions are spatially and administratively distributed. This doctoral thesis introduces five case studies that investigate ecological, social and social-ecological relations in fragmented landscapes. I present new approaches in which research and governance can detect and manage mismatches between landscape ecology and planning. The case studies include urban and forested landscapes where an intense land-use is limiting the connectivity, i.e., the potential for many species to disperse between the remaining patches of habitat. Graph-theoretic (network) models are applied to map connectivity patterns and to estimate the outcome for dispersing species at the patch level and for the whole study system. In particular, the network models are applied to evaluate the spatial complexity and the potential mismatches between ecological connectivity and geographically distributed management institutions like protected areas and municipalities. Interviews with municipal ecologists complement the spatial analysis; revealing some problems and ways forward regarding the communication and integration of ecological knowledge within local spatial-planning agencies. The results also show that network models are useful to identify and communicate critical ecological and social-ecological patterns that call for management attention. I suggest some developments of network models as to include interactions between species and across governance levels. Finally, I conclude that more effort is needed for network models to materialize into ecological learning and transformation in management processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2013. 30 p.
Connectivity; Conservation; Dispersal; Ecological knowledge; Ecology; Forest; Fragmentation; Graph theory; Institutional fit; Landscape; Management; Metapopulation; Municipal ecologist; Network; Planning; Protected area; Scale mismatch; Social-Ecological; Urban; Wetland
National Category
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97618 (URN)978-91-7447-834-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-01-21, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-12-29 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2014-11-07Bibliographically approved

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