A landscape triage approach: combining spatial and temporal dynamics to prioritize restoration and conservation.

Published online
10 Jun 2015
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Rappaport, D. I. & Tambosi, L. R. & Metzger, J. P.
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The spatial and temporal dynamics of landscape structure yield ecological constraints that may limit or promote the recovery of functioning habitat within human-modified ecosystems. In planning restoration and conservation measures to optimize outcomes for biodiversity, such constraints should be evaluated at multiple scales. This study presents a multi-scale methodology based on the concept of triage that incorporates landscape and regional spatial context and temporal dynamics to prioritize restoration and conservation. In applying the framework to a large Brazilian Atlantic forest study site that underwent substantial forest cover changes between 1990 and 2002, our results demonstrate the utility of this framework for navigating between different trade-offs inherent to biodiversity conservation. Landscapes are ranked in accordance with indicators that evaluate the relative urgency of intervention, feasibility of recovery and importance for broader-scale biotic flows. Synthesis and applications. Efforts to enhance biodiversity through restoration and/or conservation may be hampered when decisions are based exclusively on contemporary landscape structure, and not made through a historical perspective. In making such trade-offs explicit, this framework can aid practitioners in defining the most appropriate set of restoration or conservation strategies given the ecological constraints, biodiversity goals and available budget.

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