Ecological networks: a spatial concept for multi-actor planning of sustainable landscapes

Opdam, P., E. Steingröver, S. van Rooij, 2006, Ecological networks: a spatial concept for multi-actor planning of sustainable landscapes, in: Landscape and Urban Planning, 75,

  • Author : Opdam, P., E. Steingröver, S. van Rooij
  • Year : 2006
  • Journal/Series : Landscape and Urban Planning
  • Volume Number (CONSECUTIVE: Counting all Volumes of this Journal ever published) : 75
  • Pages : 322-332
  • Abstract in English : ABSTRACT: In this paper, we propose the ecological network concepts as a suitable basis for inserting biodiversity conservation into sustainable landscape development. For landscapes to be ecologically sustainable structure should support those ecological processes required for the landscape to deliver biodiversity services for present and future generations. Sustainable landscapes requires that landscape planning aims for “a condition of stability in physical and social systems achieved by accommodating the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” The landscape system should afford conditions that allow natural populations to recover in time from environmental, political and socio-economic perturbations. With respect to species diversity, a landscape is ecological sustainable it two conditions are fulfilled. First, the spatial pattern of the landscape should support the ecological processes required for resilient populations in respect of species diversity target and the spatial scale that is ecologically relevant to that target. Second, the changes that are associated with landscape development in the spatial pattern of the landscape do not push the long term persistence probability of target populations to an unacceptably level. In this paper, the authors show that the ecological network concept complies with all of these requirements. We will show that ecological networks are: indispensable to acquire ecological sustainability, compared to planning base on land suitability; allow landscape change without losing the conservation potential for the conservation target; allow stakeholders to negotiate about the area and configuration of the ecosystems network in the planning area, the use of the network for other functions and the land use in the surrounding landscape, while maintaining a realistic ambition level for conservation. Ecological networks are defined as a set of ecosystems of one type, linked into a spatially coherent system through flows of organisms, and interacting with the landscape matrix in which it is embedded. Hence the ecological (or ecosystem) network is a multi-species concept, linking ecosystems, whereas the term habitat network as defined by Hobbs (2002) and Opdam (2002) refers to the habitat of a single species.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: Ecological networks, landscape planning, stakeholder involvement, biodiversity, sustainable development.