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Landscape Ecology

, 26:1179 | Cite as

Landscapes Toolkit: an integrated modelling framework to assist stakeholders in exploring options for sustainable landscape development

  • Iris C. BohnetEmail author
  • Peter C. Roebeling
  • Kristen J. Williams
  • Dean Holzworth
  • Martijn E. van Grieken
  • Petina L. Pert
  • Frederieke J. Kroon
  • David A. Westcott
  • Jon Brodie
Research Article

Abstract

At present, stakeholders wishing to develop land use and management change scenarios at the landscape scale and to assess their corresponding impacts on water quality, biodiversity and economic performance, must examine the output of a suite of separate models. The process is not simple and presents a considerable deterrent to making such comparisons and impedes the development of more sustainable, multifunctional landscapes. To remedy this problem, we developed the Landscapes Toolkit, an integrated modelling framework that assists natural resource managers, policy-makers, planners and local communities explore options for sustainable landscape development. The Landscapes Toolkit links spatially-explicit disciplinary models, to enable integrated assessment of the water quality, biodiversity and economic outcomes of stakeholder-defined land use and management change scenarios. We use the Tully–Murray catchment in the Great Barrier Reef region of Australia as a case study to illustrate the development and application of the Landscapes Toolkit. Results show that the Landscapes Toolkit strikes a satisfactory balance between the inclusion of component models that sufficiently capture the richness of some key aspects of social-ecological system processes and the need for stakeholders to understand and compare the results of the different models. The latter is a prerequisite to making more informed decisions about sustainable landscape development. The flexibility of being able to add additional models and to update existing models is a particular strength of the Landscapes Toolkit design. Hence, the Landscapes Toolkit offers a promising modelling framework for supporting social learning and adaptive management through participatory scenario development and evaluation as well as being a tool to guide planning and policy discussions at the landscape scale.

Keywords

Scenario analysis Decision-support-system Participatory planning Integrated assessment Great Barrier Reef region Land use planning Landscape ecology Water quality Economic Biodiversity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the contributions by Scott Wilkinson, Dan Metcalfe, Andrew Ford, Damon Sydes, Michael Drielsma, Daniel Faith, Jeanette Kemp, Carla Catterall, Peter Thorburn and Tony Webster to the component models and data layers linked in the Landscapes Toolkit. Caroline Bruce provided data management and Adam Fakes programming support. Thanks to the local stakeholders who participated in the project for their time, enthusiasm and valuable feedback. Thanks to Rosemary Hill and Emma Jakku for their interest in the use of decision-support tools and valuable scientific discussions. Mark Smith instigated and supported the early development of the Landscapes Toolkit; thanks for his continued interest and comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Andre Zerger and three anonymous reviewers also provided valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship funded the development of the Landscapes Toolkit while the Marine and Tropical Science Research Facility contributed towards the development of two component models that are part of the Landscapes Toolkit.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris C. Bohnet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter C. Roebeling
    • 6
  • Kristen J. Williams
    • 7
  • Dean Holzworth
    • 4
  • Martijn E. van Grieken
    • 3
  • Petina L. Pert
    • 1
  • Frederieke J. Kroon
    • 5
  • David A. Westcott
    • 5
  • Jon Brodie
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.Catchment to Reef Research GroupJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, EcoSciences PrecinctBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesToowoombaAustralia
  5. 5.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesAthertonAustralia
  6. 6.Department of EnvironmentCESAM, University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  7. 7.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesCanberraAustralia

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