Landscape Ecology

, 23:1277

The ‘habitat backbone’ as strategy to conserve pioneer species in dynamic port habitats: lessons from the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in the Port of Antwerp (Belgium)

  • Robbert P. H. Snep
  • Fabrice G. W. A. Ottburg
Research Article

Abstract

Biodiversity conservation in economic areas like ports has recently become more important in the European Union due to a stricter interpretation of nature protection laws. In this study we develop a planning and design strategy—the ‘habitat backbone’—with which to support the long-term survival of pioneer species that occur in ports and have low dispersal abilities. For those species, long-term survival in port areas is uncertain because supply of their habitats (on vacant lots) is capricious and depends on land use dynamics. By gaining knowledge about spatial and temporal characteristics of these dynamics we were able to develop a solution to conserve such species. Our solution is based on the creation of permanent habitat—defined as a ‘backbone’—on (semi-) public land with an overall carrying capacity sufficient to support persistent populations. This best ensures long-term survival, and the backbone may also act as refugium. Satellite populations that emerge on adjacent vacant lots will thereby add to the persistence of the overall metapopulation. Management of permanent habitat is focused on retaining early-successional stages of vegetation. Implementing this strategy in the case of the natterjack toad in the Port of Antwerp taught us that realization of a habitat backbone is possible only if landowners, local governments and environmental NGOs cooperate. In the case at hand, such cooperation resulted in a plan that should ensure a coherent and persistent habitat network in which a chorus of some 1,400 natterjack toads could be accommodated—more than the number of toads currently observed.

Keywords

Urban ecology Habitat backbone Dynamic habitat Pioneer species Port area Business site Industrial site Habitat network Metapopulation Natterjack toad Bufo calamita 

Supplementary material

10980_2008_9266_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
MOESM1 [ANNEX I] (DOC 33 kb)

References

  1. Bastin L, Thomas CD (1999) The distribution of plant species in urban vegetation fragments. Landsc Ecol 14:493–507. doi:10.1023/A:1008036207944 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauwens D, Claus K (1996) Distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Flanders, Belgium (in Dutch). De Wielewaal, TurnhoutGoogle Scholar
  3. Bolger DT, Suarez AV, Crooks KR, Morrison SA, Case TJ (2000) Arthropods in urban habitat fragments in southern California. Ecol Appl 10(4):1230–1248. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[1230:AIUHFI]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bryant MM (2006) Urban landscape conservation and the role of ecological greenways at local and metropolitan scales. Landsc Urban Plan 76(1–4):23–44. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.09.029 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cardskadden H, Lober DJ (1998) Environmental stakeholder management as business strategy: the case of the corporate wildlife habitat enhancement programme. J Environ Manage 52(2):183–202. doi:10.1006/jema.1997.0170 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crooks KR, Suarez AV, Bolger DT (2004) Avian assemblages along a gradient of urbanization in a highly fragmented landscape. Biol Conserv 115:451–462. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00162-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Langen PW (2007) Stakeholders, conflicting interests and governance in port clusters (Chapter 20). Devolution, port governance and port performance. Res in Transp Econ 17:457–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Denton JS, Beebee TJC (1993) Density-related features of natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) populations in Britain. J Zool (Lond) 229(1):105–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ducruet C (2005) Spatial structures and trends in port cities: from the local to the global. Mappemonde 77(1):1–6 (in French)Google Scholar
  10. EU (1992) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Consolidated version 1.1.2007). European Union, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  11. European Commission (2007) Guidance document on the strict protection of animal species of Community interest under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  12. Groot Bruinderink G, Van der Sluis T, Lammertsma D, Opdam P, Pouwels R (2003) Designing a coherent ecological network for large mammals in Northwestern Europe. Conserv Biol 17(2):549–557. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.01137.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IBIS (Integraal Bedrijventerreinen Informatie Systeem) (2001) Business sites overview of the Netherlands. Etin consultancy, Tilburg, the Netherlands. Available from www.werklocaties.nl. Accessed July 2007)
  14. Kildaw SD, Irons DB, Nysewander DR, Buck CL (2005) Formation and growth of new seabird colonies: the significance of habitat quality. Mar Ornithol 33:49–58Google Scholar
  15. Kuzmin LS (1995) Amphibians of Russia and neighbouring areas (in German). Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, Band 627. Westarp-Wissenschaften, MagdeburgGoogle Scholar
  16. Lancaster J (2000) Geometric scaling of microhabitat patches and their efficacy as refugia during disturbance. J Anim Ecol 69:442–457. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2656.2000.00407.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Levins R (1970) Extinction. In: Gesternhaber M (ed) Some mathematical problems in biology. American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI, pp 77–107Google Scholar
  18. Luxford D, Chandra S (2005) Harbour-side parcel land-use changes: significance in re-development planning permit appraisal in Melbourne, Australia. Appl GIS 1(1):1–15Google Scholar
  19. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  20. Miaud C, Sanuy D, Avrillier J-N (2000) Terrestrial movements of the natterjack toad Bufo calamita in a semi-arid agricultural landscape. Amph Rep 21:357–369. doi:10.1163/156853800507426 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morris RKA, Gibson C (2007) Port development and nature conservation: experiences in England between 1994 and 2005. Ocean Coast Manage 50:443–462. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2006.08.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Niemelä J (1999) Is there a need for a theory of urban ecology? Urban Ecosyst 3:57–65. doi:10.1023/A:1009595932440 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Opdam P (1991) Metapopulation theory and habitat fragmentation: a review of holarctic breeding bird studies. Landsc Ecol 5(2):93–106. doi:10.1007/BF00124663 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ottburg FGWA, Pouwels R, Slim PA (2007) Making the Port of Antwerp more natural; ecological infrastructure network for the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) on the left bank of the Scheldt: application of the LARCH model to the natterjack toad in the Port of Antwerp on the left bank of the Scheldt as basis for the sustainable conservation of the species. Alterra Report 1376, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  25. Schmidt BR, Pellet J (2005) Relative importance of population processes and habitat characteristics in determining site occupancy of two anurans. J Wildl Manage 69(3):884–893. doi:10.2193/0022-541X(2005)069[0884:RIOPPA]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schadek U (2007) Plants in urban brownfields: modeling the driving factors of site conditions and of plant functional group occurrence in a dynamic environment. PhD Dissertation, Carl von Ossietzky University, OldenburgGoogle Scholar
  27. Smit GFJ (2006) Urban development and the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita): implementation of the habitat directive in the Netherlands. In: Vences M, Köhler J, Ziegler T, Böhme W (eds), Herpetologia Bonnensis II. Proceedings of the 13th congress of the societas Europaea herpetologica, pp 167–170Google Scholar
  28. Snep RPH, Van Ierland EC, Opdam P (submitted) Enhancing biodiversity at business sites: what are the options, and which of these do stakeholders prefer? Landsc Urban PlanGoogle Scholar
  29. Stefan T, Ulbrich K, Grosse WR, Meyer F (2001) Modeling the extinction risk of isolated populations of natterjack toad Bufo calamita. Web Ecology 2:47–56Google Scholar
  30. Stevens VM, Leboulengé E, Wesselingh RA, Baguette M (2006) Quantifying functional connectivity: experimental assessment of boundary permeability for the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). Oecologia 150(1):161–171. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0500-6 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stienen EWM, Courtens W, Van de Walle M, Waeyenberge J, Kuijken E (2005) Harbouring nature: port development and dynamic birds provide clues for conservation. In: Herrier JL et al (eds) Proceedings of ‘Dunes and Estuaries 2005’: international conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats. Vliz special publication 19, pp 381–392Google Scholar
  32. Stojanovic TA, Ormerod Smith HD, Wooldridge CF (2006) The impact of the habitats directive on European port operations and management. GeoJournal 65:165–176. doi:10.1007/s10708-006-0004-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Timmermans W, Snep RPH (2001) Ecological models and urban wildlife. In: Villacampa Y, Brebbia CA, Usó JL (eds) Ecosystems and sustainable development III. Advance ecology science 10. Proceedings ECOsud conference, Southampton, WIT, pp 205–216Google Scholar
  34. Trepl L (1995) Towards a theory of urban biocoenoses. In: Sukopp H, Numata M, Huber A (eds) Urban ecology as the basis for urban planning. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague, pp 3–21Google Scholar
  35. Verboom J, Pouwels R (2004) Ecological functioning of ecological networks: a species perspective. In: Jongman R, Pungetti G (eds) Ecological networks and greenways: concept, design, implementation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  36. Verboom J, Foppen R, Chardon JP, Opdam P, Luttikhuizen PC (2001) Introducing the key patch approach for habitat networks with persistent populations: an example for marshland birds. Biol Conserv 100(1):89–100. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(00)00210-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vos CC, Verboom J, Opdam P, Ter Braak CJF (2001) Towards ecologically scaled landscape indices. Am Nat 157:24–41. doi:10.1086/317004 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vuilleumier SC, Wilcox BJ, Cairns H, Possingham P (2007) How patch configuration affects the impact of disturbances on metapopulation persistence. Theor Popul Biol 72:77–85. doi:10.1016/j.tpb.2006.11.001 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wahlberg N, Klemetti T, Hanski I (2002) Dynamic populations in a dynamic landscape: the metapopulation structure of the marsh fritillary butterfly. Ecography 25:224–232. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0587.2002.250210.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Weigend GG, New Brunswick NJ (1973) Stages in the development of the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Geoforum 13:5–15. doi:10.1016/0016-7185(73)90131-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wood BC, Pullin AS (2002) Persistence of species in a fragmented urban landscape: the importance of dispersal ability and habitat availability for grassland butterflies. Biodiv Conserv 11:1451–1468. doi:10.1023/A:1016223907962 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. World Bank (2003) Alternative port structure and ownership model: port reform toolkit. Public Private Infrastructure Advisory FacilityGoogle Scholar
  43. Yang PPJ, Lay OB (2004) Applying ecosystem concepts to the planning of industrial areas: a case study of Singapore’s Jurong Island. J Clean Prod 12:1011–1023. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robbert P. H. Snep
    • 1
  • Fabrice G. W. A. Ottburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Alterra—Wageningen URWageningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations