Advertisement

Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 13, pp 3323–3341 | Cite as

Integrating approaches leads to more effective conservation of biodiversity

Original Paper

Abstract

Recent debates have discussed whether a species-approach or an ecosystem-approach is better for protecting biodiversity. Rather than perpetuate this debate, we argue that critical new scientific and conservation insights arise from combining and integrating approaches along a continuum. We present a suite of case studies and other examples, which highlight the value and synergies derived from an integrated approach for developing management-relevant understanding aimed at protecting biodiversity. Attempts to conserve biodiversity should therefore be multi-faceted in approach and thinking. They also should be long-term as well as driven by well-developed questions focused on closing key knowledge gaps.

Keywords

Ecosystem approach Species approach Research and management continuum Enhanced conservation outcomes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank C. Shepherd and P. Likens for assistance in preparing this paper. GEL is grateful to the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs and the Department of Limnology, Uppsala University for intellectual and financial support during the writing of this manuscript. Case study 4 was derived from J. Pastor’s contribution in Lindenmayer and Likens (2010, pp. 64–65).

References

  1. Andrewartha HG, Birch LC (1984) The ecological web. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. Beechie T, Pess G, Roni P, Giannico G (2008) Setting river restoration priorities: a review of approaches and a general protocol for identifying and prioritizing actions. N Am J Fish Manag 28:891–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beeton B, Burbidge A, Grigg G, Harrison P, How R, Humphreys B, McKenzie N, Woinarski J (2010) Final report of the Christmas Island expert working group to the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts. http://wwwenvironmentgovau/parks/publications/christmas/pubs/final-reportpdf. Accessed 28 Feb 2012
  4. Bormann FH, Likens GE (1967) Nutrient cycling. Science 155:424–429PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bunnell F (1998) Evading paralysis by complexity when establishing operational goals for biodiversity. J Sustain For 7:145–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burton TM, Likens GE (1975) Energy flow and nutrient cycling in salamander populations in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Ecology 56:1068–1080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caughley GC, Gunn A (1996) Conservation biology in theory and practice. Blackwell Science, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Clucas B, McHugh K, Caro T (2008) Flagship species on covers of US conservation and nature magazines. Biodivers Conserv 17:1517–1528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. CSIRO (2006) Science investment process. Investment decisions for 2006/2007. CSIRO, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  10. Danell K, Bergström R, Duncan P, Pastor J (eds) (2006) Large mammalian herbivores, ecosystem dynamics, and conservation. Cambridge University Press, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  11. De Jager NR, Pastor J (2009) Declines in moose population density on Isle Royale and accompanying changes in landscape patterns. Landsc Ecol 24:1389–1403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Department of Sustainability Environment Water Population and Communities (2012) EPBC Act lists: species and ecological communities. http://wwwenvironmentgovau/epbc/about/listshtml#species. Accessed 27 Feb 2012
  13. Dexter N, Ramsay D, MacGregor C and Lindenmayer DB (2012) Using a fuzzy cognitive map to assess options in ecosystem management. Ecosystems (in press)Google Scholar
  14. Ehrenfeld JG (2000) Defining the limits of restoration: the need for realistic goals. Restor Ecol 8:2–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Elliott GP, Wilson PR, Taylor RH, Beggs JR (2010) Declines in common, widespread native birds in a mature temperate forest. Biol Conserv 143:2119–2126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Estes JA, Terborgh J, Brashares JS, Power ME, Berger J, Bond WJ, Carpenter SR, Essington TE, Holt RD, Jackson JBC, Marquis RJ, Oksanen L, Oksanen T, Paine RT, Pikitch EK, Ripple WJ, Sandin SA, Scheffer M, Schoener TW, Shurin JB, Sinclair ARE, Soule ME, Virtanen R, Wardle DA (2011) Trophic downgrading of planet earth. Science 333:301–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eviner VT, Likens GE (2008) Effects of pathogens on terrestrial ecosystem function. In: Ostfeld RS, Keesing F, Eviner VT (eds) Infectious disease ecology: effects of ecosystems on disease and of disease on ecosystems. Cary Conference XI, Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 260–283Google Scholar
  18. Garrett PM (2009) Opening address Tenth International Congress of Ecology. INTECOL, Brisbane. http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/archive/env/2009/sp20090817.html. Accessed 28 Feb 2012
  19. Godsoe W, Harmon LJ (2012) How do species interactions affect species distribution models? Ecography. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07103.x Google Scholar
  20. Goheen JR, Palmer TM (2010) Defensive plant-ants stabilize megaherbivore-driven landscape change in an African savanna. Curr Biol 20:1768–1772PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harmon JP, Moran NA, Ives AR (2009) Species response to environmental change: impacts of food web interactions and evolution. Science 323:1347–1350PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hobbs RJ, Higgs E, Harris J (2009) Novel ecosystems: implications for conservation and restoration. Trends Ecol Evol 24:599–605PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hobbs RJ, Cole DN, Yung L, Zavaleta ES, Aplet GH, Chapin FS III, Landres PB, Parsons DJ, Stephenson NL, White PS, Graber DM, Higgs ES, Millar CI, Randall JM, Tonnessen KA, Woodley S (2010) Guiding concepts for park and wilderness stewardship in an era of global environmental change. Front Ecol Environ 8:483–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hocking MD, Reynolds JD (2011) The study of natural impacts of salmon on riparian plant diversity. Science 331:1609–1612PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hunter ML (1993) Natural fire regimes as spatial models for managing boreal forests. Biol Conserv 65:115–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jones CG, Lawton JH (eds) (1995) Linking species and ecosystems. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Leopold A (1949) A sand county almanac. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Likens GE (1992) The ecosystem approach: Its use and abuse. Ecology Institute, Oldendorf/LuheGoogle Scholar
  29. Likens GE (2010) The role of science in decision making: does evidence-based science drive environmental policy? Front Ecol Environ 8:e1–e9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Likens GE, Bormann FH, Johnson NM, Fisher DW, Pierce RS (1970) Effects of forest cutting and herbicide treatment on nutrient budgets in the Hubbard Brook watershed-ecosystem. Ecol Monogr 40:23–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lindenmayer DB (2009) Forest pattern and ecological process: a synthesis of 25 years of research. CSIRO Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindenmayer DB, Franklin JF (2002) Conserving forest biodiversity: a comprehensive multiscaled approach. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  33. Lindenmayer DB, Likens GE (2010) Effective ecological monitoring. CSIRO Publishing and Earthscan, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  34. Lindenmayer DB, Likens GE (2011) Direct measurement versus surrogate indicator species for evaluating environmental change and biodiversity loss. Ecosystems 14:47–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lindenmayer DB, Likens GE, Krebs CJ, Hobbs RJ (2010) Improved probability of detection of ecological “surprises”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:21957–21962PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lindenmayer DB, Wood JT, McBurney L, MacGregor C, Youngentob K, Banks SC (2011) How to make a common species rare: a case against conservation complacency. Biol Conserv 144:1663–1672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lugo AE (1992) Comparison of tropical tree plantations with secondary forests of similar age. Ecol Monogr 62:2–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Makarewicz JC, Likens GE (1979) Structure and function of the zooplankton community of Mirror Lake, New Hampshire. Ecol Monogr 49:109–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Manning AD, Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2006) Scattered trees are keystone structures—implications for conservation. Biol Conserv 132:311–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marks PL (1974) The role of Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) in the maintenance of stability in northern hardwood ecosystems. Ecol Monogr 44:73–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Marris E (2007) Conservation priorities: what to let go. Nature 450:152–155PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martin TG, Nally S, Burbidge AA, Arnall S, Garnett ST, Hayward MW, Lumsden LF, Menkhorst P, MacDonald-Madden E, Possingham HP (2012) Acting fast helps avoid extinction. Conserv Lett. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-1263X.2012.00239.x Google Scholar
  43. Mascaro J, Becklund KK, Hughes RF, Schnitzer SA (2009) Limited native plantation regeneration in novel, exotic-dominated forests on Hawai’i. For Ecol Manag 256:593–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  45. Montague-Drake R, Lindenmayer DB, Cunningham RB, Stein J (2011) A reverse keystone species affects the landscape distribution of woodland avifauna: a case study using the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) and other Australian birds. Landsc Ecol 26:1383–1394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nicol SC, Possingham HP (2010) Should metapopulation restoration strategies increase patch area or number of patches? Ecol Appl 20:566–581PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pastor J, Naiman RJ, Dewey B, McInnes P (1988) Moose, microbes, and the boreal forest. Bioscience 38:770–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pastor J, Dewey B, Naiman RJ, McInnes PF, Cohen Y (1993) Moose browsing and soil fertility in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. Ecology 74:467–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pastor J, Dewey B, Moen R, White M, Mladenoff D, Cohen Y (1998) Spatial patterns in the moose-forest-soil ecosystem on Isle Royale, Michigan, USA. Ecol Appl 8:411–424Google Scholar
  50. Persson I-L, Nilsson MB, Pastor J, Eriksson T, Bergström R, Danell K (2009) Depression of belowground respiration rates at simulated high moose population densities in boreal forests. Ecology 90:2724–2733PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pletscher DH, Bormann FH, Miller RS (1989) Importance of deer compared to other vertebrates in nutrient cycling and energy flow in a northern hardwood ecosystem. Am Midl Nat 121:302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ripple WJ, Beschta RL (2003) Wolf reintroduction, predation risk, and cottonwood recovery in Yellowstone National Park. For Ecol Manag 184:299–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ripple WJ, Beschta RL (2008) Trophic cascades involving cougar, mule deer, and black oaks in Yosemite National Park. Biol Conserv 141:1249–1256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rodrigues AS (2006) Are global conservation efforts successful? Science 313:1051–1052PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Romme WH, Boyce MS, Gresswell R, Merrill EH, Minshall GW, Whitlock C, Turner MG (2011) Twenty years after the 1988 Yellowstone fires: lessons about disturbance and ecosystems. Ecosystems 14:1196–1215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Seastedt TR, Hobbs RJ, Suding KN (2008) Management of novel ecosystems: are novel approaches required? Front Ecol Environ 6:547–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sharam GJ, Sinclair AR, Turkington R (2009) Serengeti birds maintain forests by inhibiting seed predators. Science 325:51PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Simberloff DA (1998) Flagships, umbrellas, and keystones: is single-species management passe in the landscape era? Biol Conserv 83:247–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sturges FW, Holmes RT, Likens GE (1974) The role of birds in nutrient cycling in a northern hardwoods ecosystem. Ecology 55:149–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Terborgh J (1986) Keystone plant resources in the tropical forest. In: Soulé ME (ed) Conservation biology: the science of scarcity and diversity. Sinauer, Sunderland, pp 330–344Google Scholar
  61. Thomas JA, Simcox DJ, Clarke RT (2009) Successful conservation of a threatened Maculinea butterfly. Science 325:80–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thompson K (2010) Do we need pandas? The uncomfortable truth about biodiversity. Green Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  63. Wardle DA, Bardgett RD, Callaway RM, van der Putten WH (2011) Terrestrial ecosystem responses to species gains and losses. Science 332:1273–1277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Watson DM (2001) Mistletoe—a keystone resource in forests and woodlands worldwide. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 32:219–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Watson JE, Evans MC, Carwardine J, Fuller RA, Joseph LN, Segan DB, Taylor MFJ, Fensham RJ, Possingham HP (2010) The capacity of Australia’s protected-area system to represent threatened species. Conserv Biol 25:324–332PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Woodwell GM (2010) The biodiversity blunder. Bioscience 60:870–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  2. 2.National Environmental Research Program, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Fenner School of Environment and SocietyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations