Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 51–61 | Cite as

Ecological connectivity between land and sea: a review

  • Xiaodong Fang
  • Xiyong Hou
  • Xiaowei Li
  • Wan Hou
  • Masahiro Nakaoka
  • Xiubo Yu
Special Feature: Current Topics in Ecology Biodiversity and Its Ecological Functions in East-Asia and Pacific Region: Status and Challenges


Land–sea ecological connectivity refers to the interaction (convenience or hindrance) of certain physical, chemical and biological processes between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Research on land–sea ecological connectivity can provide important scientific bases for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems in terrestrial and coastal areas. On the basis of a literature summary of ecological connectivity, this paper focuses on the following: (1) summarizing basic concepts, representative phenomena on multiple spatiotemporal scales, and analysis methods of land–sea ecological connectivity; (2) discussion of the applications of land–sea ecological connectivity; (3) discussion of the relationship between human activities and land–sea ecological connectivity; (4) presentation of perspectives and recommendations on ecological restoration, protection, and biodiversity research, with emphasis on the principle of land–sea ecological connectivity. On the whole, we believe such connectivity in a region varies with changes in multiple physical and artificial factors, such as climate, land cover, biotic community and human activities. Human activities such as land use, engineering construction, urbanization and industrialization have continuously increased and cause irreversible disturbance and destruction of land–sea ecological connectivity, thereby threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services at various spatiotemporal scales. Hence, achievements of theoretical research and practical experience in ecological connectivity should be fully applied in coastal areas to maintain and restore land–sea ecological connectivity and remedy various problems that arise from the blockage and damage of ecosystem services.


Ecological connectivity Land and sea Coastal zone Biodiversity Ecosystem services 



We appreciate the reviewers for their constructive suggestions concerning this paper. The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action on Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, NSFC-BF/IGFA, Grant no. 31461143032), the Science and Technology Service Network Initiative (STS) Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant no. KFJ-STS-ZDTP-023), and the self-deployment project of Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant no. YICY755021012). Masahiro Nakaoka was supported by the Belmont Forum “TSUNAGARI” fund of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, and by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15 Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services (PANCES)) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaodong Fang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiyong Hou
    • 1
    • 3
  • Xiaowei Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wan Hou
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Masahiro Nakaoka
    • 5
  • Xiubo Yu
    • 6
  1. 1.Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Université de NantesNantesFrance
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological RemediationChinese Academy of SciencesYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Akkeshi Marine Station, Field Science Center for Northern BiosphereHokkaido UniversityAkkeshiJapan
  6. 6.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resource ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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