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Scale issues in the assessment of ecological impacts using a GIS-based habitat model: A case study for the Stockholm region
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
2007 (English)In: Environmental impact assessment review, ISSN 0195-9255, E-ISSN 1873-6432, Vol. 27, no 5, 440-459 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) provide two interlinked platforms for the assessment of impacts on biodiversity caused by human developments. Although it might be too early to draw conclusions on the efficiency of SEA to assess such impacts, a number of persistent problems have been identified in the case of EIA. Some of these shortcomings concern the lack of proper prediction and impact quantification, and the inadequate/insufficient assessment of cumulative effects. A number of problems are related to the scale(s) at which the assessment is performed. SEA may provide a more adequate framework than EIA to discuss scale-related issues (i.e. cumulative impacts) but it also requires the use of adapted tools. This paper presents a case study where a GIS-based habitat model for the lesser spotted woodpecker is tested, validated and applied to a planning scenario in the Stockholm region in Sweden. The results show that the method adopted offers great prospects to contribute to a better assessment of biodiversity-related impacts. Even though some limitations remain in the form of data requirement and interpretation of the results, the model produced continuous, quantified predictions over the study area and provided a relevant basis for the assessment of cumulative effects. Furthermore, this paper discusses potential conflicts between different scales involved in the assessment - related to administrative boundaries, ecological processes, data availability, the method adopted to perform the assessment and temporal aspects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 27, no 5, 440-459 p.
Keyword [en]
SEA; EIA; scale; data; biodiversity; lesser spotted woodpecker; maxent model; physical planning; cumulative impacts
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8534DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2007.02.003ISI: 000247480800007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-34249300865OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8534DiVA: diva2:13884
Note
QC 20100727Available from: 2008-05-27 Created: 2008-05-27 Last updated: 2010-07-27Bibliographically 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

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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