Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology

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  1. Bibliographic Information
  2. Professor Steven Greco - Landscape Ecology: The Sense of Space •
  3. Social research methods
  4. IUFRO Spotlight #6 "Putting Experts to the Test"
  5. Elicitation and Use of Expert Knowledge in Landscape Ecological Applications: A Synthesis

These scales range from local mechanisms such as genetic exchange, to regional and inter-continental ones such as disturbance or migration. Professor Steven Greco, a landscape ecologist at UC Davis, describes how his work informs conservation. They found that the choice of a local or regional scale led to dramatic differences in the areas identified for inclusion within a conservation network.

Bibliographic Information

Only around a third of the average area at either scale was identified at both scales. Connectivity, considered important to allow the free movement of animal populations between sites, was also notably affected by planning scale.

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The team also found that just Both planning scales led to the loss of important information for conservation planning: local planning alone resulted in fragmented networks, while regional planning overlooked locally important areas. Achieving the best possible outcomes for conservation will require the use of approaches that integrate information from both local and regional scales.

Professor Steven Greco - Landscape Ecology: The Sense of Space •

Riparian, or river-bank, zones are an example of an ecosystem whose management and restoration requires well-targeted planning. Riparian systems depend on the ability of the river to move and create new habitats through erosion and sediment deposition. These changes allow the river system to support different successional stages of vegetation.

In California, riparian zones have the greatest biodiversity of any ecosystem. Human activity can restrict the natural development of riparian ecosystem changes by modifying river flows through dams, or by artificially reducing bank erosion.

Guidance Documents

Planning for the restoration of degraded riparian ecosystems requires an understanding of the ways in which rivers meander, and how this affects vegetation patterns. One way to do this is by producing maps of the age of floodplain surfaces.

Landscape Ecology

Professor Greco and his colleagues used the Sacramento River in California to explore the ways in which riparian ecosystems are affected by land age. The Sacramento River is the largest river in California, and its active meandering constantly produces new land.

Social research methods

This allows primary succession by willow and cottonwood trees, providing habitat for threatened wildlife such as the western yellow-billed cuckoo. In their study, published in , Professor Greco and his colleagues developed a method of overlaying time slices of floodplain maps to track the patterns of Sacramento River floodplain area over time. They used aerial photographs to map the riparian community vegetation, and link the distribution to the floodplain age class. This would provide a useful baseline to aim for in designing restoration plans, or to minimise the impacts of construction projects.

The role of floodplain age is one of many factors that should be taken into account in the design of landscape projects such as open channels for flood control.

IUFRO Spotlight #6 "Putting Experts to the Test"

Typical channel systems are designed solely for the purpose of flood protection, and are narrow, deep and smooth to maximise water flow and minimise their land footprint. However, these features also reduce their potential as riparian habitats.

Professor Greco and his colleagues showed that redesigning flood control channels can enhance their ecological value. In a study published in , the team simulated the effects of expanding the channel footprint area in the Sacramento River region. The team simulated scenarios with wider channels, and calculated the maximum roughness coefficients — corresponding to higher levels of riparian vegetation — which would achieve the target water flow rates and hence flood protection levels.

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  • In all three areas of the river examined, it was possible to increase the roughness coefficient and attain improved flood protection, although this would require a greater land area for the wider channels. In the case of the Sutter Bypass region, it would be possible to design a channel capable of supporting dense woody riparian vegetation.

    The western yellow-billed cuckoo, mentioned above, is an endangered subspecies in California whose riparian habitats are affected by changes in the patterns of river meandering. This cuckoo favours cottonwood habitats around the Sacramento River, dynamic patches of forest whose distribution is constantly in flux, depending on the meandering of the river. Professor Greco has been involved in several studies on yellow-billed cuckoo habitat in the region, one of which explored how the distribution of cottonwood forest on the Sacramento River changed between and He used GIS maps of land cover derived from aerial photographs to quantify the amount of woody riparian vegetation in and Building on the method used in his floodplain study, his team further identified subpatches of vegetation on young floodplains as likely cuckoo habitat.

    One positive finding was that the significant reduction in new floodplain land produced was partially offset by a higher rate of colonisation by cottonwood, probably due to reduced erosion as a result of the effect of Shasta Dam in decreasing water flow. The new patches were mostly formed through oxbow or floodplain lake processes, highlighting the particular importance of these processes for riparian habitat conservation.

    Maintaining a stable mosaic of cottonwood patches will require a management approach that allows natural river meandering processes, if populations of the yellow-billed cuckoo, and other threatened riparian species, are to remain viable.

    Elicitation and Use of Expert Knowledge in Landscape Ecological Applications: A Synthesis

    Final habitat suitability values for tule elk in the Central Valley ecoregion. Another native species in California which could benefit from the broad-scale landscape approach to conservation is the tule elk. Navigation umschalten Kostenloser Website-Ebook-Download. Mirror Link. Please allow notifications to be able to download files.

    • Expert Knowledge and Its Application in Landscape Ecology | NHBS Academic & Professional Books.
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    • Block Allow. Typically, landscape ecologists use empirical observations to conduct research and devise solutions for applied problems in conservation and management. In some instances, they rely on advice and input of experienced professionals in both developing and applying knowledge. Given the wealth of expert knowledge and the risks of its informal and implicit applications in landscape ecology, it is necessary to formally recognize and characterize expert knowledge and bring rigor to methods for its applications.