Fragmented landscapes : Assessment and communication of landscape connectivity in human-dominated landscapes

University dissertation from Stockholms universitets förlag

Abstract: This licentiate thesis summarizes the first half of my PhD on the theme of management of fragmented landscapes. The thesis applies – and reflects on the use of – network analysis of connectivity in relation to landscape planning. Relevant theory on knowledge management and spatial ecology is summarized and discussed in connection with two papers.Paper I centers on municipal ecologists and environmental planners in the Stockholm region. They state that connectivity is rarely considered enough in planning and that assessment tools are lacking. Paper I studies the benefits and difficulties of using network analysis to manage connectivity in land-use planning. Among the main difficulties was the choice of model species and access to input data. The main strengths were the graphical and quantitative results, the potential for social learning, identification of critical sites and to relate local planning and ecology to the regional landscape.Paper II applies network methodology to quantify habitat availability of fragmented lichen-type forests in protected areas in northern Sweden. It studies a dynamic landscape that is continuously rearranged by forestry, with consequences that depend on species’ abilities to compete for resources in protected habitats, and to disperse through unprotected mature forest stands. We discuss the results with reference to the planning of forestry and protected areas, and to the resilience of species to patchy disturbance regimes.To end I propose a continuation of research, including a methodological development of network analysis; a sociological study of the acceptance of ecological advice in urban planning; and an integration of social and ecological network analysis to compare patterns of cross-municipal collaboration with landscape connectivity.

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