• A Simple Method for Predicting the Consequences of Land Management in Urban Habitats

      Young, Christopher; Jarvis, Peter (Springer New York, 2001)
      Land management in urban areas is characterized by the diversity of its goals and its physical expression in the landscape, as well as by the frequency and often rapidity of change. Deliberate or accidental landscape alterations lead to changes in habitat, some of which may be viewed as environmentally beneficial, others as detrimental. Evaluating what is there and how changes may fit into the landscape context is therefore essential if informed land-management decisions are to be made. The method presented here uses a simple ecological evaluation technique, employing a restricted number of evaluation criteria, to gather a spatially complete data set. A geographical information system (GIS) is then used to combine the resulting scores into a habitat value index (HVI). Using examples from Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, existing real-world data are then applied to land-management scenarios to predict probable landscape ecological consequences of habitat alteration. The method provides an ecologically relevant, spatially complete evaluation of a large, diverse area in a short period of time. This means that contextual effects of land-management decisions can be quickly visualized and remedial or mitigating measures incorporated at an early stage without the requirement for complex modeling and prior to the detailed ecological survey. The strengths of the method lie in providing a detailed information baseline that evaluates all habitats, not just the traditional “quality” habitats, in a manner that is accessible to all potential users—from interested individuals to professional planners. (Springer Verlag)