Local government planning agencies play an important role in conserving biodiversity in human-altered landscapes. Such agencies frequently have a limited knowledge of wildlife biology and few resources to carry out research, and therefore require simple, practical guidelines for biodiversity conservation. We propose a landscape design framework for biodiversity conservation that is sequential, prescriptive, and supported by current landscape ecological science. Unlike existing guidelines, our framework can be implemented in any given landscape using only land cover data and it explicitly considers constraints on land use planning. The steps of our framework, in the order in which they should be implemented are: (1) select land cover data and decide which land cover classes constitute unaltered or altered land covers; (2) list the constraints on land use planning (e.g., economic, social) that exist for the landscape (3) maximize the total amount and diversity of unaltered land cover, especially near water; (4) minimize human disturbance within altered land cover, especially near water; and (5) aggregate altered land covers associated with high-intensity land uses, especially away from water. We illustrate the utility of our approach by applying it to a hypothetical landscape and comparing the outcome to those from the application of traditional ecological guidelines to inform land use planning.

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Keywords Conservation planning, Human-dominated landscapes, Integrated landscape management, Land use and land cover change, Land use planning, Landscape ecology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.11.006
Journal Landscape and Urban Planning
Gagné, S.A. (Sara A.), Eigenbrod, F. (Felix), Bert, D.G. (Daniel G.), Cunnington, G.M. (Glenn M.), Olson, L.T. (Leif T.), Smith, A.C. (Adam C.), & Fahrig, L. (2015). A simple landscape design framework for biodiversity conservation. Landscape and Urban Planning, 136, 13–27. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.11.006