Measuring urban habitat fragmentation: an example from the Black Country, UK
AbstractThe processes of urbanisation have left a fragmented mosaic of habitat patches of varying size, shape and character with the result that from location to location the number and quality of contacts between patches varies considerably. Traditional measurements of this habitat fragmentation, and its converse, connectivity, have rarely looked at the landscape as a whole but instead have simplified it to specific landscape subsets, or else have looked at area-to-area relationships through generalising the landscape into homogeneous pixels or grids. In this paper the character of the whole landscape is examined at scales appropriate to the spatial variability of the urban environment. Using a direct measurement of patch-to-patch contact all contacts between all patches are examined and the relationship between all contiguous and connecting habitats is quantified. This is further refined to look at connections between patches of different quality, a measure that highlights the adverse effects of urbanisation as a whole on landscape connections between quality habitats. (SpringerLink)
CitationLandscape Ecology, 16(7): 643-658
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
A Simple Method for Predicting the Consequences of Land Management in Urban HabitatsYoung, 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)
Assessing the structural heterogeneity of urban areas: an example from the Black Country (UK)Young, Christopher; Jarvis, Peter (Springer Netherlands, 2001)The increasing acknowledgement of the importance of urban habitats in the maintenance of biodiversity has brought with it a need to quantify this importance at a scale appropriate to the characteristic patch sizes encountered in urban areas. Taking a study area in the Black Country (UK) we used a spatially complete, rapid assessment method to evaluate habitat patches in terms of their internal structural heterogeneity. This method recognises the importance of both natural and anthropogenic processes in providing a diverse range of habitats and niches for both flora and fauna. It also recognises the key role of context in determining the ecological significance of each patch within the urban landscape. All habitats studied had a complex mix of both natural and artificial structural elements, where an element is a within-patch contributor to structural diversity, with each habitat type having a large range of element totals. Characteristic totals, reflecting the level of habitat structural diversity, were observed in some habitat types with residential areas having high values and industrial and commercial areas having low values. Certain structural elements were also associated with each habitat type allowing characteristic element assemblages to be derived. If structural diversity is linked with biodiversity, as seems to be the case in many (though not all) habitat types, then this unique method of viewing the urban landscape becomes a powerful tool for informing wildlife ecologists, nature conservationists, urban planners, environmental managers and landscape architects. (Springer Verlag)
A multicriteria approach to evaluating habitat change in urban areas: an example from the Black Country (UK)Young, Christopher; Jarvis, Peter (Ashurst: WIT Press, 2003)THE BOOK: The pressure on land resources in densely populated industrialized countries is now immense. Multifunctional management is therefore a prerequisite for the sustainable use of landscapes, and the only general strategy that may address the problems created by constantly growing demands on resources arising from production, residence, dumping of waste, habitat, ecosystem services, and recreation. This volume focuses on the discussion and research recommendations relating to three different aspects of future landscape research concerning planning and management: Monitoring Multifunctional Landscapes; Biodiversity Versus Landscape Diversity in Multifunctional Landscapes; and Complexity of Landscape Management. (WIT Press)