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Connecting the dots: Network analysis, landscape ecology, and practical application
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering (moved 20130630), Environmental Management and Assessment.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humans have a profound impact on ecosystems, and land-use change constitutes a primary driving force in the loss of biodiversity. Habitat loss and fragmentation are key factors in this process by seriously impeding the habitat availability and movement of species, leading to a significant decrease in population viability. Landscape connectivity management able of crossing administrative and ecological spatial and temporal scales has been identified as one of the most important measures to counteract these negative impacts. The use of graph-theory and network-based landscape-ecological tools has become established as a promising way forward to address these issues. Despite urgent needs to adapt and implement such tools in planning, assessment and decision-making, surprisingly little attention has been paid to developing approaches for their effective practical application. This thesis presents the development of a toolbox with network-based, landscape-ecological methods and graph-theoretic indicators, which can be effectively implemented by practitioners within environmental assessment, physical planning and design, to analyze landscape connectivity. Recent advances in network analysis and landscape ecology are brought together and adapted for practical application, bridging the gap between science and practice. The use of participatory approaches was identified as key to successful development, and several workshops, meetings, interviews, as well as prototype testing of the developed software were conducted throughout the study. Input data and selection of species were based on the experience gained through seven real-world cases, commissioned by different governmental organizations within Stockholm County. The practitioners’ perspectives on effective practical application of the proposed toolbox were then assessed through an interview-study. The respondents anticipated improved communication with other actors in addition to being able to better assess critical ecological structures within the landscape. The toolbox was finally tested in a large-scale network analysis of impacts of the regional development plan (RUFS 2010), leading to important insights on the planning of connectivity in an urbanizing region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , x, 52 p.
Series
TRITA-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1062
Keyword [en]
Landscape connectivity; Land-use planning; Urban and regional planning; Graph theory; Network analysis; Environmental assessment; Least-cost modeling; Biodiversity
National Category
Environmental Engineering Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48491ISBN: 978-91-7501-198-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-48491DiVA: diva2:457901
Public defence
2011-12-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Formas
Note

QC 20111125

Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-19 Last updated: 2014-08-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Urban landscapes in transition: lessons from integrating biodiversity and habitat modelling in planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban landscapes in transition: lessons from integrating biodiversity and habitat modelling in planning
2012 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, ISSN 1464-3332, E-ISSN 1757-5605, Vol. 14, no 1, 1250002- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sustainable urban development has been widely recognized as requiring energy and transport efficient urban growth, while ecological issues are often not well integrated in sustainability assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). In order to achieve such integration, methods and tools based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a Landscape Ecological Assessment (LEA) framework were developed and integrated in planning in four case studies in and around the city of Stockholm, Sweden. This involved the application of recently developed methods for impact prediction and for integration into the planning processes. The aim of the study was to compare the case studies concerning strengths and weaknesses of LEA and its GIS-based components. The methodology enabled identification of important structures in the landscape to support biodiversity, across administrative borders.  The GIS-based LEA facilitated discussions on consequences of alternatives for localisation of built-up areas, infrastructure and other development as well as management, and could thus contribute to a sustainable urban development with consideration of the landscape-level biodiversity values.

Keyword
ecological profiles, energy-efficient cities, Geographic Information Systems, Strategic Environmental Assessment, urbanization
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48974 (URN)10.1142/S1464333212500020 (DOI)2-s2.0-84861048516 (Scopus ID)
Funder
FormasStandUp
Note

QC 20120801

Available from: 2011-11-24 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Making graph theory operational for landscape ecological assessments, planning, and design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making graph theory operational for landscape ecological assessments, planning, and design
2010 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 95, no 4, 181-191 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Graph theory and network analysis have become established as promising ways to efficiently explore and analyze landscape or habitat connectivity. However, little attention has been paid to making these graph-theoretic approaches operational within landscape ecological assessments, planning. and design. In this paper, a set of both theoretical and practical methodological developments are presented to address this issue. In highly fragmented landscapes, many species are restricted to moving among small, scattered patches of different resources. instead of one, large patch. A life-cycle based approach is therefore introduced, in which a metapatch is constructed, spanning over these resources, scattered across the landscape. The importance of spatially explicit and geographically defined representations of the network in urban and regional planning and design is stressed, and appropriate, context-dependent visualizations of these are suggested based on experience from real-world planning cases. The study moves beyond the issue of conservation of currently important structures, and seeks to identify suitable redesigns of the landscape to improve its social-ecological qualities, or increase resilience. By introducing both a system-centric and a site-centric analysis, two conflicting perspectives can be addressed. The first answers the question "what can I do for the network", and the second, "what can the network do for me". A method for typical planning strategies within each of these perspectives is presented. To illustrate the basic principles of the proposed methods, an ecological study on the European common toad (Bufo bufo) in Stockholm. Sweden is presented, using the betweenness centrality index to capture important stepping-stone structures.

Keyword
Least-cost modeling, Functional connectivity, Environmental planning, European common toad, Metapatch, Spatial redundancy
National Category
Landscape Architecture
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25868 (URN)10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.01.002 (DOI)000277501800005 ()2-s2.0-77950019384 (Scopus ID)
Funder
FormasStandUp
Note

QC 20101103. Uppdaterad från Submitted till Published (20101103). Tidigare titel "Linking Graph Theory to Operational Maps in Ecological Assessments, Planning, and Design.".

Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. To model the landscape as a network: A practitioner’s perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To model the landscape as a network: A practitioner’s perspective
2013 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 119, 35-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent years have shown a rapid increase in the number of published studies that advocate network analysis (graph theory) to ecologically manage landscapes that suffer from fragmentation and loss of connectivity. This paper studies the reasons, benefits and difficulties of using network analysis to manage landscape fragmentation in the practice of land-use planning. The results are based on interviews with thirteen municipal ecologists and environmental planners in Stockholm, Sweden, who had been introduced to a GIS-tool for network-based connectivity analysis. Our results indicate that fragmentation is not considered enough in municipal planning and demonstrate that none of the interviewed practitioners used systematic methods to assess landscape connectivity. The practitioners anticipate that network-level and patch-level connectivity measures and maps would help them to communicate the meaning and implications of connectivity to other actors in the planning process, and to better assess the importance of certain habitats affected by detailed plans. The main difficulties of implementing network-based connectivity analyses reported by the respondents related to the choice of focal species and the lack of model input in terms of landscape data and dispersal distances. The main strengths were expressed by the practitioners as graphical, quantitative and credible results; the ability to compare planning alternatives and to find critical sites in a more objective manner than today; and to relate local planning and ecology to the regional structure of the landscape. Many respondents stressed the role of fragmentation assessments in the endeavor to overcome current spatial mismatches of ecological and administrative scales.

Keyword
Planning, Landscape, Connectivity, Fragmentation, Graph theory, Network
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48978 (URN)10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.06.009 (DOI)000325196300004 ()2-s2.0-84883791747 (Scopus ID)
Funder
FormasStandUp
Note

QC 20140827

Available from: 2011-11-24 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. Sprawl or dense?: Assessing impacts of regional development plans on landscape network connectivity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sprawl or dense?: Assessing impacts of regional development plans on landscape network connectivity
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The management of landscape connectivity has been identified as one of the most important measures to counteract negative impacts on biodiversity by habitat loss and fragmentation. Such management must be able to cross spatial and temporal administrative and ecological scales. The use of graph-theory and network-based landscape-ecological tools has gained considerable interest as a promising way forward to address these issues. However, despite urgent needs to adapt and implement network-based connectivity analysis in planning, assessment and decision-making, surprisingly little attention has been paid to developing approaches for their effective practical application. In this paper, a large-scale assessment of the Regional Development Plan for the Stockholm Region (RUFS 2010) was carried out, argued to be the first graph-theoretic assessment of landscape connectivity for real proposed planning alternatives. In addition, it is the first time where the analysis of connectivity was an integral part in the planning process. Three planning alternatives were compared with the current situation for four different habitat types and one hundred different dispersal capacities. Three families of network metrics representing different underlying processes were selected, that have previously been shown to capture the variability of a larger set of metrics. The sprawl alternative emerged as having the largest negative impact while the dense alternative had the smallest. However, when comparing the impact with the amount of habitat consumed, the sprawl alternative emerged as being the most efficient in several situations. In order to achieve a better understanding of the underlying processes, a spatial study was carried out. The analysis leads to important insights on the planning of connectivity in an urbanizing region, argued to be applicable within a broad set of urbanizing regions throughout the world.

 

National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48980 (URN)
Funder
FormasStandUp
Note

QS 2011

Available from: 2011-11-24 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2013-12-20Bibliographically approved

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