Fragmentation patterns and ecosystem services

Landscape fragmentation and human-transformed forests have been subject of discussion in the comparison between land sharing and sparing, as suggested by Phalan et al. 2011. They elaborate on the ecological benefits of intensified agriculture in contrast to organic agriculture, due to its protection potential of a larger size of core forests. This view is supported by research of Gibson et al. 2011, who found that the ecological value of primary forest is far superior to any other human-transformed land cover, such as secondary forests.

However, assisting the restoration of degraded landscapes might proof to be effective, as mentioned by Jakovac et al. 2015. No data has thus far been analysed thoroughly. Another type of human-transformed forests are the selectively logged forests, and these seem to provide a rather high potential for many ecosystem services, as recently picked up by Bicknell et al. 2015. He suggests to close off logging roads as being the most effective and quick way to sustainably manage tropical forests and acquire the highest conservation value.

Contradictory to these statements, Mitchell et al. 2015 recently reframed ecosystem services in fragmented landscapes by including its accessibility to people, pointing to the possible positive effect of fragmentation. The authors urge for a better understanding of the importance of the accessibility of ecosystem services to underpin the correct decision-making activities. One of the tasks within our team will be to use the latest models in testing the above mentioned hypotheses.

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One thought on “Fragmentation patterns and ecosystem services

  1. I wrote in the above on fragmentation effects on ESS, in which the general opinion seems that fragmentation will decrease biodiversity and the conservation value of the landscape. I forgot to include the many practical anthropogenic transformed landscapes, which actually provide habitat. They are called Socio-Ecological Production Systems (SEPS) and include a landscape managing practice in which mozaic landscapes provide a harmonized interaction of habitats and land-uses since many centuries. These fragmented landscapes thrive in accessible ecosystem services.
    An example of this is the satoyama landscapes from Japan, which got my attention after a recent lecture by Dr. Hotes. A good paper on this system is from Kazuhiko Takeuchi: ‘Rebuilding the relationship between people and nature: the Satoyama Initiative’.
    The question will be if we can or want to apply these systems in the recently deforested regions of the tropics. And how should we approach this?

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