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  • 1.
    Balfors, Berit
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Azcarate, Juan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Odelius Gordon, Sara
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Impacts of urban development on biodiversity and ecosystem services2016In: Handbook on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Impact Assessment / [ed] Davide Geneletti, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016, p. 167-194Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Global urbanization has increased rapidly and it is expected to continue. Due to the continuing urbanization process, green areas are transformed into areas for housing, industry and infrastructure. As a consequence, ecosystems in urbanizing areas are affected, which results in degradation of habitats, due to fragmentation and disturbances, with significant impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. In cities, green areas are of primary interest to support biodiversity as well as in their role as producers of ecosystem services; that is, services that ecosystems produce to the benefit of humans often without any costs. In addition, publicly accessible urban green areas enhance life quality for urban citizens. To strengthen biodiversity and ecosystem services considerations in the planning process and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in the long term, a consistent assessment of potential impacts is required. In particular, a landscape approach in urban planning and assessment is needed to address the scales of ecological processes, to strengthen important landscape structures and functions in urban, regional and infrastructure planning. A landscape approach calls for methods for assessing the impacts of human actions on biodiversity at a landscape level, across administrative borders. Such methods should allow an analysis of cumulative impacts of many single planning decisions. Several of the processes involved have a temporal and spatial dimension and are possible to quantify, analyse, and visualize with geographical information systems (GIS) combined with spatial ecological models. This allows for localization and quantification of predicted effects of urbanization on biodiversity components over landscape and regional scales. This chapter addresses impacts of urbanization on biodiversity and urban green areas’ capacity in providing ecosystem services. A brief description of the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services provides a framework for a landscape approach in biodiversity assessments and for the practical examples from the Stockholm region. Related to the assessment, tools for predicting and assessing biodiversity impacts at a landscape level will be discussed as well as planning and management of urban green areas. The chapter concludes with lessons learned and key recommendations for best practice.

  • 2. Karimpour, Marziyeh
    et al.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Engineering Geology and Geophysics.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Ecological impacts of transportation infrastructure: A spatial national assessment for Sweden2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Ecology, Transport Infrastructure and Environmental Assessment2013Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure has a wide array of effects on ecological processes. These effects benefit certain species and might enhance or accelerate ecological processes such as colonization and dispersal, but as well extinction. The overall impact on biodiversity is however negative and several authors conclude transport infrastructure to have detrimental effects on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Planning and construction of transport infrastructure is in the EU to be preceded by an environmental assessment process, with the overall aim to prevent rather than repair potential unintended negative effects. This thesis presents two studies on transport infrastructure effects on biodiversity in the context of environmental assessment. The first study reviewed how and how sufficiently biodiversity aspects were accounted for in environmental assessment of transport infrastructure projects and plans, and identified opportunities to improve concurrent practice. The first study concluded that the treatment of biodiversity aspects has improved over the years, but that the low use of quantitative impact assessment methods, the treatment of fragmentation and spatial and temporal delimitation of the impact assessment study area remain problematic. The second study assessed the impact of the Swedish road network on biodiversity by use of existing landscape ecological metrics and GIS. The second study reconnects to the shortcomings in environmental assessment practice identified in the first study, by discussing the utility of the method in terms of applicability in environmental assessment processes. The second study identified nature types and species adversely exposed to transport infrastructure effects, and concluded that sound methodologies for biodiversity assessment can be developed using existing tools and techniques. In sum, transport infrastructure influence vast areas of the surrounding landscape, and this is not accounted for in planning and design of new transport infrastructure due to shortcomings in current environmental assessment practice. Existing tools and techniques could be used to address several of these shortcomings, and an increased use of quantitative analysis of transport infrastructure effects on biodiversity would add significantly to the quality of impact predictions and evaluations.

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    Cover Essay
  • 4.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Road Ecology for Environmental Assessment2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure is closely linked to several politically relevant sustainability issues, and since 1985 a formalized environmental assessment process is linked to planning and construction of new roads and railways in the EU (EU directives 85/337/EEC and 2001/42). The aim of the environmental assessment process is to think in advance; to identify, predict and evaluate significant environmental changes resulting from a proposed activity, in order to adjust the proposed activity accordingly and to avoid unnecessary and unexpected consequences. Biodiversity is a component of sustainable development that is in many ways affected by road and railway construction, but which has been challenging to fully account for within the environmental assessment process. This thesis presents four studies on the role of biodiversity in environmental assessment of road and railway plans and projects. Paper I presents the state of the art of road and railway impacts on ecological patterns and processes sustaining biodiversity, and reviews the treatment of biodiversity in a selection of environmental assessment reports from Sweden and the UK. Paper II presents a quantitative assessment of the impact of the Swedish road network on birds and mammals, and how fragmentation and road disturbance might affect a selection of ecological profiles. Paper III demonstrates how scientific models, data and knowledge can be mobilized for the design and evaluation of railway corridors, and Paper IV analyses how habitat connectivity, as a prerequisite of genetic exchange, relates to landscape composition and size and number of fauna passages. The results from Paper I show that road and railway impacts on biodiversity need to be addressed at every level of planning; from corridor alignment in the landscape to utilization and maintenance. The review of environmental assessment reports shows that the treatment of biodiversity in environmental assessment has improved over the years, but that problems with habitat fragmentation, connectivity and the spatial delimitation of the impact assessment study area remain. The results from Paper II identify natural grasslands and southern broadleaved forest, prioritized habitat types important for biodiversity, to most likely be highly affected by road impacts, and suggest road disturbance to have a high impact on overall habitat availability. The results from Paper III demonstrate how the landscape specific distribution of ecological and geological resources can be accounted for in railway corridor design, and potentially lead to more resource efficient outcomes with less impact on ecological processes. The results from Paper IV indicate that the several small fauna passages would increase connectivity more across a barrier than the construction of a single large. Effective barrier mitigation will also depend on the selection of focal species and the understanding of how the focal species perceive the landscape in terms of resistance to movement. This thesis demonstrates how quantitative assessment can benefit biodiversity impact analysis and address issues such as habitat connectivity and fragmentation, which have been difficult to account for in environmental assessment. It is recommended that biodiversity impact analysis moves towards an increasing use of quantitative methods and tools for prediction, evaluation and sensitivity analysis. Future challenges include verification and calibration of relevant spatial ecological models, and further integration of road ecology knowledge into road and railway planning.

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    Thesis
  • 5.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Karlsson, Caroline
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Olofsson, Bo
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Balfors, Berit
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Design and evaluation of railway corridors based on spatial ecological and geological criteria2016In: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, ISSN 1361-9209, E-ISSN 1879-2340, Vol. 46, p. 207-228Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure is closely linked to several sustainability issues of main policy relevance, and significant impacts on biodiversity as well as resource use and construction costs relate to the corridor design and location in the landscape. The aim of this study was to develop methods for railway corridor planning, in which corridor design and location would be based on important ecological and geological sustainability criteria. The method, an MCA framework including both spatial and non-spatial MCA, was demonstrated on a railway planning proposition in an urbanising area north of Stockholm, Sweden. Alternative spatial alignments for 6 railway corridors were derived based on criteria representing biodiversity, resource efficiency and costs, developed from ecological and geological knowledge, data and models. The method identified a study area specific positive synergy between ecological and geological sustainability criteria. The evaluation part of the methodology could furthermore identify uncertainties in the input data and assumptions and conflicts between ecological criteria. In order to arrive at a well-informed decision support system, the criteria as well as the decision rules employed could be further elaborated. Other relevant sustainability issues would also need to be integrated, such as cultural landscapes, recreation, and other ecosystem services. Still, arriving at a corridor design informed by the ecological and geological conditions in the planned area, as demonstrated by this study, could improve the sustainability performance of transport infrastructure planning.

  • 6.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    A spatial ecological assessment of fragmentation and disturbance effects of the Swedish road network2015In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 134, p. 53-65Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Transportation infrastructure has a wide range of effects on ecological processes, which result in both positive and negative impacts for biodiversity. However, the treatment of biodiversity in planning and environmental assessment have been criticized, especially regarding habitat loss and fragmentation effects, the low use of quantitative methods and that of assessments being descriptive rather than analytical and predictive. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the Swedish road network by spatial modelling of road effects, to explore potential impacts of fragmentation and disturbance effects of roads on habitat networks for selected ecological profiles, and to discuss the utility of applying quantitative methods for environmental assessment purposes. Habitat and landcover data was used for creating habitat networks for six ecological profiles. Fragmentation and disturbance effects were modelled in GIS and FRAGSTATS was used to quantify ecologically important landscape metrics on habitat amount and connectivity. The results showed that natural grasslands and southern broadleaved forest were substantially more exposed to road effects in Sweden, compared to old coniferous and trivial broadleaved forest. Furthermore, habitat loss was a main consequence of road effects, and forest species with high area demands were most prone to be adversely impacted. Suggestions on method development in order to increase the quality of the analysis methods for environmental assessment are discussed. The potential is seen as high for use of quantitative ecological methods to generate baseline environmental information as well as coarse predictions on likely consequences of development options, useful for environmental assessment.

  • 7.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Balfors, Berit
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Road Ecology in Environmental Impact Assessment2014In: Environmental impact assessment review, ISSN 0195-9255, E-ISSN 1873-6432, Vol. 48, p. 10-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure has a wide array of effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and road and railway networks are increasingly being associated with a loss of biodiversity worldwide. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are two legal frameworks that concern physical planning, with the potential to identify, predict, mitigate and/or compensate transport infrastructure effects with negative impacts on biodiversity. The aim of this study was to review the treatment of ecological impacts in environmental assessment of transport infrastructure plans and projects. A literature review on the topic of EIA, SEA, biodiversity and transport infrastructure was conducted, and 17 problem categories on the treatment of biodiversity were formulated by means of a content analysis. A review of environmental impact statements and environmental reports (EIS/ER) produced between 2005 and 2013 in Sweden and the UK was then conducted using the list of problems as a checklist The results show that the treatment of ecological impacts has improved substantially over the years, but that some impacts remain problematic; the treatment of fragmentation, the absence of quantitative analysis and that the impact assessment study area was in general delimited without consideration for the scales of ecological processes. Actions to improve the treatment of ecological impacts could include improved guidelines for spatial and temporal delimitation, and the establishment of a quantitative framework including tools, methods and threshold values. Additionally, capacity building and further method development of EIA and SEA friendly spatial ecological models can aid in clarifying the costs as well as the benefits in development/biodiversity tradeoffs.

  • 8.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Balfors, Berit
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Lundberg, Kristina
    Ecoloop AB.
    Erlandsson, Åsa
    Hedlund, Anders
    Swedish EIA centre, Swedish Univeristy of Agricultural Science.
    Lindblom, H.
    Swedish EIA centre, Swedish Univeristy of Agricultural Science.
    Application of Environmental Quality Objectives in Regional Scale Infrastructure Projects: a Swedish Example2011In: From biodiversity to ecosystem services: The changing face of EIA, IAIA , 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is rarely possible to develop transport infrastructure without significant ecological impacts. A road or a railway will provide new habitat for some species, however, the overall environmental impacts, not at least on biodiversity, tend to be problematic. In order to improve the integration of transport infrastructure in its environmental and cultural settings, different strategies, methods and tools have been developed. EIA and SEA are examples of such methods. In Sweden 16 national environmental quality objectives have been formulated with the intention to guide societal development onto a sustainable path, i.e. to be used in infrastructure planning. The study reviews the experiences of the implementation and utilization of these environmental objectives in infrastructure project planning, including their influence on EIA and SEA procedures. Interviews were held with infrastructure planners, EIA and SEA consultants, representatives of permitting authorities etc.; followed by workshops and seminars. The results show that the objectives are overriding, but difficult to transfer and integrate into the different levels of project planning. Environmental concern seems currently to be driven by other factors. In order to use the official environmental quality objectives as guidance for road and railway planning, consensus on definitions, interpretations and intrinsic relations between different objectives, including the underlying environmental aspects (e.g. between biodiversity and other environmental aspects and objectives such as ‘landscape’), are urged for.

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    fulltext
  • 9.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Seiler, A.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    The effect of fauna passages and landscape characteristics on barrier mitigation successManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure can impose significant barriers to movements to many, if not most terrestrial animals. Barrier effects can lead to increased isolation of wildlife populations, which in turn might have demographic effects and even increase genetic differentiation between neighbouring populations. This study attempted to clarify the role of fauna passages and generic landscape patterns for connectivity in fragmented landscapes, and to improve the theoretical basis for future experimental approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of barrier mitigation strategies. Specifically, the issue of whether it would be more effective to construct a single large rather than several small crossing structures (SLOSS) was addressed by this study. Three hypotheses were formulated on the relationship between habitat connectivity, as a prerequisite for genetic exchange, and habitat aggregation and contrast between habitat types. Random landscapes with different combinations of aggregation, contrast and number and size of fauna passages were created in a GIS. Connectivity was then quantified as a function of movement resistance using circuit theory and related methods, and measurements from the random landscapes were statistically analysed. The results indicate that in any landscape, it would be more effective to construct several small fauna passages instead of a single large one to mitigate the effect of a barrier. The level of aggregation appeared to have no influence per se on connectivity, and increasing the level of contrast increased the variance in the results. Results indicate that the effectiveness of a fauna passage will to a large extent rely on the location of a fauna passage relative to how the mitigation target species perceive the landscape in terms of contrast between different habitat types. A predefined interval between fauna passages could therefore result in highly ineffective mitigation, in a situation where a fauna passage would be located in habitat perceived as of high resistance. It is recommended that barrier effect mitigation strategies focus on the location and design of several small fauna passages rather than a single large one. Future research should focus on the development of dispersal and movement models for a set focal species that perceive a minimum degree of contrast between habitat types.

  • 10.
    Karlson, Mårten
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Seiler, Andreas
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    The effect of fauna passages and landscape characteristics on barrier mitigation success2017In: Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, ISSN 0925-8574, E-ISSN 1872-6992, Vol. 105, p. 211-220Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Transport infrastructure can impose significant barriers to movements to many, if not most terrestrial animals. Barrier effects can lead to increased isolation of wildlife populations, which in turn might have demographic effects and even increase genetic differentiation between neighbouring populations. This study attempted to clarify the role of fauna passages and generic landscape patterns for connectivity in fragmented landscapes, and to improve the theoretical basis for future experimental approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of barrier mitigation strategies. Specifically, the issue of whether it would be more effective to construct a single large rather than several small crossing structures (SLOSS) was addressed by this study. Three hypotheses were formulated on the relationship between habitat connectivity, as a prerequisite for genetic exchange, and habitat aggregation and contrast between habitat types. Random landscapes with different combinations of aggregation, contrast and number and size of fauna passages were created in a GIS. Connectivity was then quantified as a function of movement resistance using circuit theory and related methods, and measurements from the random landscapes were statistically analysed. The results indicate that in any landscape, it would be more effective to construct several small fauna passages instead of a single large one to mitigate the effect of a barrier. The level of aggregation appeared to have no influence per se on connectivity, and increasing the level of contrast increased the variance in the results. It is recommended that barrier effect mitigation strategies focus on the location and design of several small fauna passages rather than a single large one. Future research should focus on the development of dispersal and movement models for a set focal species. The effectiveness of increasing fauna passage dimensions above those of crossing structures that are evidently used by the intended species should also need more research.

  • 11.
    Karlsson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Ekologiska konsekvenser vid vägbyggande2013Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Bioenergy feedstock and environmental impacts2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Karlson, Mårten
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Balfors, Berit
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Management and Assessment.
    Landscape level ecological impact assessment2011Conference paper (Refereed)
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