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Our demands on natural systems outweigh the capacity of those systems to support us. This paper calls for an approach to development that consistently delivers ‘net benefit’ for biodiversity or ‘ecological enhancement’. Examples of enhancement are presented through four case studies in India undertaken between 2005 and 2010. Actions focus on improving the overall ecological structure, composition and functions of sites; strengthening ecological networks by creating new habitats and buffer areas; and improving the services provided by the ecosystems, without jeopardizing biodiversity. While recognizing the importance of quantitative metrics of impacts and mitigation measures to determine outcomes, such measures were...
If conservation of biodiversity is the goal, then the protected areas network of the continental US may be one of our best conservation tools for safeguarding ecological systems (i.e., vegetation communities). We evaluated representation of ecological systems in the current protected areas network and found insufficient representation at three vegetation community levels within lower elevations and moderate to high productivity soils. We used national-level data for ecological systems and a protected areas database to explore alternative ways we might be able to increase representation of ecological systems within the continental US. By following one or more of these alternatives it may be possible to increase the...
The expansion of protected areas is a critical component of strategies to promote the continued existence of biodiversity (i.e., life at all levels of biological organization) as climate changes, but scientific, social, and economic uncertainties associated with climate change are some of the major obstacles preventing such expansion. New models of climate change and species distribution and new methods of conservation planning now make it possible to explore the uncertainties associated with climate changes and species responses. Yet few reliable estimates of the costs of expanding protected areas and methods for determining these costs exist, largely because of the many (and uncertain) determinants of these costs....
Wind energy offers the potential to reduce carbon emissions while increasing energy independence and bolstering economic development. However, wind energy has a larger land footprint per Gigawatt (GW) than most other forms of energy production, making appropriate siting and mitigation particularly important. Species that require large unfragmented habitats and those known to avoid vertical structures are particularly at risk from wind development. Developing energy on disturbed lands rather than placing new developments within large and intact habitats would reduce cumulative impacts to wildlife. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that it will take 241 GW of terrestrial based wind development on approximately...
The food webs of littoral, pelagic, and littoral-pelagic ecotone (interface) regions of a large subtropical lake were investigated using stable isotope ratio methods, expanding the focus of a previous fish-only study to include other food web components such as primary producers and invertebrates. In these food webs, delta13C increased approximately 4 per thousand and delta15N increased approximately 10 per thousand from primary producers to fish. The delta15N of fish was approximately 9 per thousand in the littoral zone, approximately 10 per thousand in the ecotone, and approximately 12 per thousand in the pelagic zone. The cross-habitat enrichment in fish 15N corresponded with both an increase in the size of fish...
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Collaboration has taken root in national forest planning, providing expanded opportunities for stakeholder participation in decision-making, but are these processes considered meaningful by key stakeholders? Do the processes result in increased participation by key stakeholders? We present results of a study of stakeholder perspectives of a collaborative planning process on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Western Colorado, U.S.A. The stakeholders were stratified by participation levels in order to explore a possible relationship between participation and perceptions of the collaborative process. We used a Q-methodology approach to compare and contrast perspectives across participant...
For comparing impacts of bird and bat collisions with wind turbines, investigators estimate fatalities/megawatt (MW) of rated capacity/year, based on periodic carcass searches and trials used to estimate carcasses not found due to scavenger removal and searcher error. However, scavenger trials typically place >=10 carcasses at once within small areas already supplying scavengers with carcasses deposited by wind turbines, so scavengers may be unable to process and remove all placed carcasses. To avoid scavenger swamping, which might bias fatality estimates low, we placed only 1-5 bird carcasses at a time amongst 52 wind turbines in our 249.7-ha study area, each carcass monitored by a motion-activated camera. Scavengers...
To inform the design and implementation of land-use policies that consider the variety of goods and services people derive from ecosystems, it is essential to understand spatial patterns of individual services, how multiple services relate to each other, and how these relationships vary across spatial scales and localities. Despite the importance of freshwater as a determinant of regional economic and human demographic patterns, there are surprisingly few studies that map the provision of a range of services associated with the quality of the aquatic environment. Here we examine relationships between indicators of riverine water and associated habitat quality, freshwater biodiversity, three terrestrial ecosystem...
Encroachment of woody plants into grasslands, and subsequent brush management, are among the most prominent changes to occur in arid and semiarid systems over the past century. Despite the resulting widespread changes in landcover, substantial uncertainty about the biogeochemical impacts of woody proliferation and brush management exists. We explored the role of shrub encroachment and brush management on leaf litter decomposition in a semidesert grassland where velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) abundance has increased over the past 100 years. This change in physiognomy may affect decomposition directly, through altered litter quality or quantity, and indirectly through altered canopy structure. To assess the direct...
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This shape file represents an ecological boundary for the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (CCE) as defined by the Crown Managers Partnership (CMP). The CMP developed the boundary through a series of meetings held in 2008, including a meeting between the CMP and non government organizations working in the Crown on July 23, 2008. The purpose of this exercise was to develop an ecological justification for the CCE, to enable analysis and tracking of the ecosystem from an ecological health perspective. The CMP notes that this extent does not represent the true economic, social and cultural impact on the CCE from surrounding urban areas. In Alberta the eastern boundary was delineated by the Foothills Fescue Subregion...
Concern over climate change has led the U.S. to consider a cap-and-trade system to regulate emissions. Here we illustrate the land-use impact to U.S. habitat types of new energy development resulting from different U.S. energy policies. We estimated the total new land area needed by 2030 to produce energy, under current law and under various cap-and-trade policies, and then partitioned the area impacted among habitat types with geospatial data on the feasibility of production. The land-use intensity of different energy production techniques varies over three orders of magnitude, from 1.9-2.8 km(2)/TW hr/yr for nuclear power to 788-1000 km(2)/TW hr/yr for biodiesel from soy. In all scenarios, temperate deciduous...
Warming-induced release of CO2 from the large carbon (C) stores in arctic soils could accelerate climate change. However, declines in the response of soil respiration to warming in long-term experiments suggest that microbial activity acclimates to temperature, greatly reducing the potential for enhanced C losses. As reduced respiration rates with time could be equally caused by substrate depletion, evidence for thermal acclimation remains controversial. To overcome this problem, we carried out a cooling experiment with soils from arctic Sweden. If acclimation causes the reduction in soil respiration observed after experimental warming, then it should subsequently lead to an increase in respiration rates after cooling....
Patterns of nitrogen (N) accumulation and turnover in riparian systems in semi-arid regions are poorly understood, particularly in those ecosystems that lack substantial inputs from nitrogen fixing vegetation. We investigated sources and fluxes of N in chronosequences of riparian forests along the regulated Green River and the free-flowing Yampa River in semi-arid northwestern Colorado. Both rivers lack significant inputs from N-fixing vegetation. Total soil nitrogen increased through time along both rivers, at a rate of about 7.8 g N m(-2) year(-1) for years 10-70, and 2.7 g N m(-2)year(-1) from years 70-170. We found that the concentration of N in freshly deposited sediments could account for most of the soil...
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Conclusions: Prescribed burns did not supply the stream ecosystem with potentially important nutrient pulses that are often observed after wildfires. Prescribing higher severity burns to more closely mimic wildfires would enhance N cycling in productivity in N-limited headwater watersheds. Thresholds/Learnings: Synopsis: This study aimed to compare the short-term effects of spring prescribed burns and wildfires on Nitrogen cycling dynamics in headwater watersheds of central Idaho. Fire affected N dynamics in both terrestrial and aquatic components of the watershed ecosystem after wildfires but were limited to the terrestrial ecosystem after prescribed burns. Streamwater NO3 concentrations were affected significantly...
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This dataset is a component of a complete package of products from the Connect the Connecticut project. Connect the Connecticut is a collaborative effort to identify shared priorities for conserving the Connecticut River Watershed for future generations, considering the value of fish and wildlife species and the natural ecosystems they inhabit. Click here to download the full data package, including all documentation.Specifically, for all terrestrial and wetland cells, the selection index is a composite index derived from a weighted combination of the 1) weighted index of ecological integrity, 2) TNC’s terrestrial resiliency index, and a binary representation of 3) TNC’s tier 1 floodplains and 4) S1-S3 rare natural...
The relationship between form and function has been a central organizing principle in biology throughout its history as a formal science. This concept has been relevant from molecules to organisms but loses meaning at population and community levels where study targets are abstract collectives and assemblages. Ecosystems include organisms and abiotic factors but ecosystem ecology too has developed until recently without a strong spatially explicit reference. Landscape ecology provides an opportunity to once again anneal form and function and to consider reciprocal causation between them. This ecomorphologic view can be applied at a variety of ecologically relevant scales and consists of an investigation of how geomorphology...


map background search result map search result map Why won't they come? Stakeholder perspectives on collaborative national forest planning by participation level. Effects of spring prescribed burning and wildfires on watershed nitrogen dynamics of central Idaho headwater areas Terrestrial Ecosystem-Based Core Area Selection Index, CT River Watershed Crown of the Continent Boundary Effects of spring prescribed burning and wildfires on watershed nitrogen dynamics of central Idaho headwater areas Why won't they come? Stakeholder perspectives on collaborative national forest planning by participation level. Terrestrial Ecosystem-Based Core Area Selection Index, CT River Watershed Crown of the Continent Boundary