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Integrating landscape ecology in environmental impact assessment using GIS and ecological modelling
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
2006 (English)In: From landscape research to landscape planning / [ed] Tress, B., Tress, G. and Opdam, P., Springer, 2006, 345-354 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ecological assessment in environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment processes requires improvements. The descriptive and qualitative nature of many ecological assessments suggests a need to develop and implement quantitative and predictive methods to assess problems such as fragmentation and impacts on biodiversity. Such tools, from basic GIS applications to more advanced ecological models, already exist and have reached a level of development that allows practical implementation outside the research sphere. The chapter presents a literature review on the potential application and advantages of ecological models and GIS-based methods in carrying out ecological assessments in the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment processes. The implementation of such tools translates into practice certain concepts of landscape ecology related to ecological dynamic or spatial and temporal scales. Although data requirements and the complexity of ecological models are limitations to their reproducibility and application range, the integration of landscape-ecology concepts in ecological assessment through the use of ecological models and GIS tools would contribute to the sustainable management of landscapes and their ecological resources. Finally, I argue that predictive modelling and GIS tools can also serve as a platform to integrate other landscape components that can be characterized spatially such as recreational and cultural values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2006. 345-354 p.
Series
Wageningen UR Frontis series, ISSN 1573-4544 ; 12
Keyword [en]
ecological assessment; strategic environmental assessment; GIS; predictive methods
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8533ISBN: 1-4020-3978-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8533DiVA: diva2:13883
Conference
Frontis workshop from landscape research to landscape planning: aspects of integration, education and application, Bakkaveen, The Netherlands 1-6 June 2004
Note
QC 20100727Available from: 2008-05-27 Created: 2008-05-27 Last updated: 2012-02-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spatial prediction tools for biodiversity in environmental assessment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial prediction tools for biodiversity in environmental assessment
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Human activities in the form of land use changes, urbanisation and infrastructure developments are major threats to biodiversity. The loss and fragmentation of natural habitats are great obstacles for the long term preservation of biodiversity and nature protection measures alone may not be sufficient to tackle the problem. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) play a central role in identifying, predicting and managing the impacts of human activities on biodiversity. The review of current practice suggests that the complexity of the task is underestimated and that new methodological approaches encompassing the entire landscape are needed. Spatial aspects of the assessment and the lack of information on scale-related issues are particular problems affecting the appropriate assessment of cumulative effects. In parallel with the development and establishment of EIA and SEA, spatial modelling is an expanding field in ecology and many derived applications could be suitable for the prediction and assessment of biodiversity-related impacts. The diversity of modelling methods suggests that a strategy is needed to identify prediction methods appropriate for EIA and SEA. The relevance and potential limitations of GIS-based species distribution and habitat models in predicting impacts on biodiversity were examined in three studies in the greater Stockholm area. Distinct approaches to habitat suitability modelling were compared from the perspective of environmental assessment needs and requirements. The results showed that model performance, validity and ultimate suitability for planning applications were strongly dependent on empirical data and expert knowledge. The methods allowed visual, qualitative and quantitative assessment of habitat loss, thus improving decision support for assessment of impacts on biodiversity. The proposed methods allowed areas of high ecological value and the surrounding landscape to be considered in the same assessment, thereby contributing to better integration of biodiversity issues in physical planning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. x, 29 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1041
Keyword
EIA; SEA; Species distribution modelling; Habitat suitability modelling; Impact prediction; GIS; Urbanisation
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4775 (URN)978-91-7178-997-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-05, E3, Osquarsbacke 14, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100727Available from: 2008-05-27 Created: 2008-05-27 Last updated: 2010-07-27Bibliographically approved
2. Biodiversity in environmental assessment: tools for impact prediction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biodiversity in environmental assessment: tools for impact prediction
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Urbanisation and infrastructure developments impact on the surrounding natural environment and threaten biodiversity. The fragmentation of natural habitats in particular is a major obstacle for the preservation of biodiversity in a long-term perspective. In the planning process, both the environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment processes play a central role in the identification and prediction of impacts on biodiversity. At the same time, the devel-opment of GIS technologies and GIS-based ecological models offer new perspectives in the elaboration of predictions. In order to analyse current practices and identify the need for im-provements in the environmental impact process, a review of environmental impact assessment reports was carried out. Further, a review of existing GIS methods and GIS-based ecological models is presented. The results of the review of environmental impact assessment reports show a lack of predictions in current biodiversity assessments. These asssessments often concentrate on impacts at the local scale, failing to consider large-scale and widespread impacts at the ecosys-tem and landscape levels. The review of GIS methods and GIS-based ecological models demon-strate the possibility to generate quantitative predictions for a specific area as well as for it’s sur-rounding environment. At the same time, the flexibility and reproducibility of such methods would allow predictions to be made for different alternatives or scenarios, therefore providing decision makers with relevant information of potential impacts on biodiversity. This would, in turn, result in an improved integration of biodiversity issues in physical planning and contribute to a sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. ix, 16 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. LIC, ISSN 1650-8629 ; 2025
Keyword
Environmental technology, Environmental impact assessment; Strategic environmental assessment; Biodiversity assessment; Prediction tools; GIS; GIS-base ecological models, Miljöteknik
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-278 (URN)91-7178-013-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2005-04-14, Sal V35, Teknikringen 72, Stockholm, 13:15
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101129Available from: 2005-07-06 Created: 2005-07-06 Last updated: 2010-11-29Bibliographically approved

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