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  • 1. Conceptual Framework and Course Overview Joern Fischer Week 1, Lecture 2, 22 July 2009 ENVS 8002 – Biodiversity Conservation in Modified Landscapes The Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • 2. Welcome, again!
    • This course is about biodiversity conservation, especially in landscapes under human pressure
    • Key messages from David Lindenmayer’s first lecture: …
  • 3. Some of David’s key messages
    • Australia is biologically extraordinarily diverse
    • Biodiversity is being lost rapidly
    • There are systemic problems, such as human population growth and economic growth (Note parallel with Paul Ehrlich’s I = PAT; 1971 paper in Science )
    • We need to do better in sustainability education
  • 4. David mentioned “the sustainability gap” Fischer et al. 2008. TREE 22, 621-624
  • 5. Today’s lecture
    • A couple of minutes of background on why biodiversity conservation matters:
      • We’ll get into this more deeply in the tutorial tomorrow
    • Overview of the conceptual framework for this course
    • How we will run the course
    • What you’ll get out of the course
  • 6. Biodiversity loss
    • Short movie:
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7G2rQARCC8
  • 7. Conceptual framework: background
    • Landscape change and habitat fragmentation are major threats to global biodiversity
    • … but fragmentation has become a “panchreston”:
      • “ an explanation or theory… made to fit all cases, being used in such a variety of ways as to become meaningless” (Oxford English Dictionary)
    • Loose terminology and unclear links b/w themes
      • E.g. fragmentation, habitat, connectivity, patches, edges
    • Need a coherent framework for understanding and managing modified landscapes
    Bunnell, F. L. 1999. Let's kill a panchreston: giving fragmentation meaning. Pages vii-xiii in J. A. Rochelle, L. A. Lehman, and J. Wisnewski, editors. Forest fragmentation - wildlife and management implications. Brill, Leiden.
  • 8. Background
    • A co-written book and several papers: empirical, conceptual, synthesis
    • Thanks for collaboration to Prof. David Lindenmayer
  • 9. Bennett, A.F. 1990b. Habitat Corridors: Their Role in Wildlife Management and Conservation. Department of Conservation and Environment, Melbourne. Saunders, D.A., Hobbs, R.J., Arnold, G.W., 1993. The Kellerberrin project on fragmented landscapes: a review of current information. Biological Conservation 64, 185-192. Shafer, C.L. 1990. Nature Reserves: Island Theory and Conservation Practice. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. Primack, R.B. 1993. Essentials of Conservation Biology . Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts. Smith, D.S. and Hellmund, P.C. (Eds) 1993. Ecology of Greenways: Design and Function of Linear Conservation Areas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. Webb, N.R. and Haskins, L.E. 1980. An ecological surveys of heathlands in the Poole Basin, Dorset, England, in 1978. Biological Conservation, 17, 153-165.
  • 10. S. McIntyre, R. Hobbs, Conservation Biology 13 , 1282 (1999). S. McIntyre, R. Hobbs, Conservation Biology 13 , 1282 (1999).
  • 11. S. McIntyre, R. Hobbs, Conservation Biology 13 , 1282 (1999). R. T. T. Forman, Land mosaics: the ecology of landscapes and regions (Cambridge University Press, New York, 1995).
  • 12. J. A. Foley et al. , Science 309 , 570 (Jul 22, 2005). Scaling Up
  • 13. J. A. Foley et al. , Science 309 , 570 (Jul 22, 2005). J. M. Hoekstra, T. M. Boucher, T. H. Ricketts, C. Roberts, Ecology Letters 8 , 23 (Jan, 2005).
  • 14. Woodlands and Grasslands: Typical Biomes Under Pressure J. M. Hoekstra, T. M. Boucher, T. H. Ricketts, C. Roberts, Ecology Letters 8 , 23 (Jan, 2005).
  • 15.
    • Productivity
    • Cultural and economic history
    • Top: 1870s pastoral map
    • Bottom: equivalent 2000 Landsat panchromatic image
    • a wide Travelling Stock Route
    • a stock reserve
    • remnant vegetation in a road reserve situated along a pastoral/parish boundary
    • a wide 3-chain road reserve
    • a 'water reserve'
    • forest reserve in 1875, declared as 'Kentucky State Forest' in 1917
    • numerous 1-chain road reserves
    • From : I. D. Lunt, P. G. Spooner, Journal of Biogeography 32, 1859 (Nov, 2005).
    Landscape Modification is not a Random Process
  • 16. Consequences
    • Loss of species
    • Loss of ecosystem services
      • (pollination, seed dispersal, nutrient cycling and others)
    • Loss of ecosystem resilience
      • (ability of system to maintain its essential functions and feedbacks in the event of unforeseen change)
    • “ Novel ecosystems” and “biotic homogenisation”
    • Reserves cannot adequately address these problems
  • 17. Conceptualising landscapes
    • Question: How do we study or understand the effects of landscape modification on species?
    • Task for you! One by one, read out your piece of paper to the class. - What 2-3 things do you think matter most to the species on your piece of paper in a given landscape? - Which things really don’t matter very much at all? (… keep it brief…)
  • 18. Conceptual Landscape Models
    • Question: How do we study or understand the effects of landscape modification on species?
    • Landscape models are frequently used – implicitly or explicitly
    • A landscape model is “ a conceptual tool that provides terminology and a visual representation which can be used to communicate and study how organisms are distributed through space ”. (Lindenmayer and Fischer, Island Press; Fischer et al., Princeton University Press)
    • Human perspective vs. species perspective
  • 19. Islands and Fragments
    • Island biogeography theory
    • Application to terrestrial systems
    • A human perspective of landscapes
    Photo by Richard Hobbs Island biogeography: R. H. MacArthur, E. O. Wilson, The theory of island biogeography (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1967). Application to terrestrial systems: J. M. Diamond, Biological Conservation 7, 129 (1975). Patch-matrix-corridor model: R. T. T. Forman, Landscape Ecology 10, 133 (1995).
  • 20. Why the focus on patches?
    • Larger patches often have more species because…
    • Less disturbed
    • More variety in vegetation
    • Fewer extinctions
    • More immigrations
    • By chance
    Figure 9.2. Examples of species-area curves. Top: Plants in Great Britain showing values for sub-areas starting with the county of Surrey (redrawn from Rosenzweig 1995). Second from top: Native plant species from around the world (redrawn from Gaston and Spicer [2004]). Second from bottom: Benthic macrofauna in the Arctic Ocean (redrawn from Gaston and Spicer [2004]). Bottom: Land snails on the Aegean Islands (redrawn from Gaston and Spicer [2004]). (From Lindenmayer and Fischer, 2006)
  • 21. Photo by David Lindenmayer
  • 22. Variegated Landscapes
    • Patches cannot always be easily defined
    • Notion of “variegated landscapes” S. McIntyre, G. W. Barrett, Conservation Biology 6, 146 (1992).
    • Inspired by work on birds in eastern Australia
    • Recognises scattered trees and small patches
    • But still – a human perspective of landscapes
    Photo by David Lindenmayer
  • 23. Species-specific Models A. D. Manning, D. B. Lindenmayer, H. A. Nix, Oikos 104 , 621 (2004). J. Fischer, D. B. Lindenmayer, Oikos 112 , 473 (2006).
    • Incorporate processes, species-specific differences and continua through space and time
  • 24.  
  • 25. Strengths and Weaknesses
    • Human perspective:
    • + Easy to understand
    • + Requires no prior knowledge of ecosystem
    • + Many species studied and managed at once
    • − May oversimplify differences between species
    • − Little appreciation of continua and processes
    • Species perspective:
    • − Difficult to visualise
    • − Requires detailed knowledge of ecosystem
    • − Impossible to study all species individually!
    • + Recognises that each species is unique
    • + Emphasis on processes and spatial continua
  • 26. Some of the key themes covered in this course
  • 27. How we’ll run this course
    • Lectures
    • Tutorials
    • Discussion forums (or fora, for the purists)
    • Field trip
    • Practical sessions
  • 28. Lectures
    • Joern or David, but also others from the ANU, and two or three ‘remote’ lectures
    • Themes to be covered include:
      • Theory and concepts on habitat and what it is, connectivity, edge effects, conceptual landscape models, metapopulations, extinction proneness, ecosystem services, resilience
      • Case studies from Australia and overseas (Costa Rica, India, the Amazon)
  • 29.  
  • 30. Tutorials
    • These will be on controversial topics, and will be student-facilitated (part of your mark!)
    • This will be as individuals or in pairs
    • Please circulate the list of tutorials, and write your name next to one of the tutorials
  • 31. Discussion forums
    • Should conservation biologists be policy advocates?
    • Should species be translocated to help them combat climate change?
    • We will discuss these topics with invited experts in weeks 7 and 8
  • 32. Field trip
    • This will account for half the contact hours of the course
    • 50% of the assessment will follow on directly from the field trip
    • In the tutorial tomorrow, I will circulate a sheet where you need to indicate your preferences for timing
  • 33. Brown Treecreeper (Tom Green, photogallery.canberrabirds.org.au) Chalinolobus gouldii (L. Lumsden,www.environment.gov.au )
  • 34. Practical sessions
    • 3 times 2 hours after the field trip
    • To help you with preparation of major assignment
      • Joern Fischer & Emma Knight
    • Philosophy here:
      • Active feedback before assessment to maximise opportunities for learning
  • 35. What you’ll get out of this course
    • Comprehensive overview of key issues
    • Hopefully many new thoughts and ideas
      • We’re avoiding the ‘empty vessel’ model!
    • A real sense for the science:
      • From theory, to logistics in the field, to writing, to critical debates and the science-society interface
    • Hopefully improved skills in writing, critical analysis, data analysis, and fieldwork
  • 36. Proposed assessment
    • Detailed on the wattle site:
      • Tutorial facilitation (12%)
      • Review essay (2000 words, 28%)
      • Opinion essay (600 words, 10%)
      • Research paper following field trip (3000 words, 50%)
    • Comments?
    • I will finalise this next week
  • 37. At last …
    • Questions?
    • General comments?
    • Discussion?
    • NEXT EVENTS:
    • Tutorial, tomorrow, 3-4 pm, Hancock seminar room
    • Monday 5-6pm: Lecture on habitat loss and the superb parrot