Environmental Management

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Nodes, networks, and MUMs: Preserving diversity at all scales

  • Reed F. Noss
  • Larry D. Harris


The present focus of practical conservation efforts is limited in scope. This narrowness results in an inability to evaluate and manage phenomena that operate at large spatiotemporal scales. Whereas real ecological phenomena function in a space-time mosaic across a full hierarchy of biological entities and processes, current conservation strategies address a limited spectrum of this complexity. Conservation typically is static (time-limited), concentrates on the habitat content rather than the landscape context of protected areas, evaluates relatively homogeneous communities instead of heterogeneous landscapes, and directs attention to particular species populations and/or the aggregate statistic of species diversity. Insufficient attention has been given to broad ecological patterns and processes and to the conservation of species in natural relative abundance patterns (native diversity).

The authors present a conceptual scheme that evaluates not only habitat content within protected areas, but also the landscape context in which each preserve exists. Nodes of concentrated ecological value exist in each landscape at all levels in the biological hierarchy. Integration of these high-quality nodes into a functional network is possible through the establishment of a system of interconnected multiple-use modules (MUMs). The MUM network protects and buffers important ecological entities and phenomena, while encouraging movement of individuals, species, nutrients, energy, and even habitat patches across space and time. An example is presented for the southeastern USA (south Georgia-north Florida), that uses riparian and coastal corridors to interconnect existing protected areas. This scheme will facilitate reintroduction and preservation of wide-ranging species such as the Florida panther, and help reconcile species-level and ecosystem-level conservation approaches.

Key words

Landscape ecology Patch dynamics Space-time mosaic Conservation Nature reserves 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Allen, T. F. H., and Starr, T. B. 1982. Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 310 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Big Cypress Area Management Task Force. 1984. Sensitive natural resources of the Big Cypress Area of Critical State Concern. Unpublished report to Florida governor and members of the cabinet.Google Scholar
  3. Bonnicksen, T. M., and E. C. Stone. 1982. Reconstruction of a presettlement giant sequoia—mixed conifer forest community using the aggregation approach.Ecology 63:1134–1148.Google Scholar
  4. Bormann, F. H., and G. E. Likens. 1979. Pattern and process in a forested ecosystem. Springer-Verlag, New York, 253 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Bray, J. R. 1956. Gap phase replacement in a maple-basswood forest.Ecology 37:598–600.Google Scholar
  6. Clements, F. E. 1936. Nature and structure of the climax.Journal of Ecology 24:252–284.Google Scholar
  7. Cooper, W. S. 1913. The climax forest of Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its development.Botanical Gazette 55:1–44, 115–140, and 189–235.Google Scholar
  8. Crawford, H. S., R. G. Hooper, and R. W. Titterington. 1981. Songbird population response to silvicultural practices in central Appalachian hardwoods.Journal of Wildlife Management 45:680–692.Google Scholar
  9. Dayton, P. K. 1971. Competition, disturbance and community organization: the provision and subsequent utilization of space in a rocky intertidal community.Ecological Monographs 41:351–389.Google Scholar
  10. Diamond, J. M. 1975. The island dilemma: lessons of modern biogeographic studies for the design of natural preserves.Biological Conservation 7:129–146.Google Scholar
  11. Diamond, J. M. 1976. Island biogeography and conservation: strategy and limitations.Science 193:1027–1029.Google Scholar
  12. Diamond, J. M. 1981. Current issues in conservation.Nature 289:350–351.Google Scholar
  13. Fell, G. B. 1983. The natural area movement in the United States, its past and its future.Natural Areas Journal 3(4):47–55.Google Scholar
  14. Fitch, J. H. 1980. The need for comprehensive wildlife programs in the United States: a summary. Council Environmental Quality, Washington, DC, 23 pp.Google Scholar
  15. Forman, R. T. T. 1983. Corridors in a landscape: their ecological structure and function.Ekologiya (CSSR) 2:375–387.Google Scholar
  16. Forman, R. T. T., and J. Baudry. 1984. Hedgerows and hedgerow networks in landscape ecology.Environmental Management 8:495–510.Google Scholar
  17. Forman, R. T. T., and M. Godron. 1981. Patches and structural components for a landscape ecology.BioScience 31:733–740.Google Scholar
  18. Foster, R. B. 1980. Heterogeneity and disturbance in tropical vegetation. Pages 75–92in M. E. Soule and B. A. Wilcox (eds.), Conservation biology: an ecological-evolutionary perspective. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  19. Garland, T., and W. G. Bradley. 1984. Effects of a highway on Mojave Desert rodent populations.American Midland Naturalist 111:47–56.Google Scholar
  20. Garwood, N. C., D. P. Janos, and N. Brokow. 1979. Earthquake-caused landslides: a major disturbance to tropical Forests.Science 205:997–999.Google Scholar
  21. Graul, W. D., and G. C. Miller. 1984. Strengthening ecosystem management approaches.Wildlife Society Bulletin 12:282–289.Google Scholar
  22. Hairston, N. G. 1959. Species abundance and community organization.Ecology 40:404–416.Google Scholar
  23. Hansson, L. 1977. Landscape ecology and stability of populations.Landscape Planning 4:85–93.Google Scholar
  24. Harris, L. D. 1984a. The fragmented forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 211 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Harris, L. D. 1984b. Bottomland hardwoods: valuable, vanishing, vulnerable. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida Special Publication 28, 20 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Harris, L. D., and R. F. Noss. 1985. Problems in categorizing the status of species: endangerment with best of intentions.In 16th IUCN technical meeting, Madrid, Spain, November 1984 (in press).Google Scholar
  27. Henderson, M. T., G. Merriam, and J. Wegner. 1985. Patchy environments and species survival: chipmunks in an agricultural mosaic.Biological Conservation 31:95–105.Google Scholar
  28. Jenkins, R. E. 1978. Heritage classification: the elements of ecological diversity.Nature Conservancy News 38(1):24–25 and 30.Google Scholar
  29. Koestler, A. 1967. The ghost in the machine. Macmillan, New York, 384 pp.Google Scholar
  30. Kushlan, J. A. 1979. Design and management of continental wildlife reserves: lessons from the Everglades.Biological Conservation 15:281–290.Google Scholar
  31. Levin, S. A., and R. T. Paine. 1974. Disturbance, patch formation and community structure.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 71:2744–2747.Google Scholar
  32. Lovejoy, T. E., and D. C. Oren. 1981. The minimum critical size of ecosystems. Pages 7–12in R. L. Burgess and D. M. Sharpe (eds.) Forest island dynamics in man-dominated landscapes. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Task Force. 1974. Criteria and guidelines for the choice and establishment of biosphere reserves. MAB Report Series 22. Unesco, Paris, 61 pp.Google Scholar
  34. Mader, H.-J. 1984. Animal habitat isolation by roads and agricultural fields.Biological Conservation 29:81–96.Google Scholar
  35. Margules, C., and M. B. Usher. 1981. Criteria used in assessing wildlife conservation potential: a review.Biological Conservation 24:115–128.Google Scholar
  36. McDermott, J. 1983. Geometric forms known as fractals find sense in chaos.Smithsonian 14(9): 110–117.Google Scholar
  37. McNaughton, S.J. 1984. Grazing lawns: animals in herds, plant form, and coevolution.American Naturalist 124:863–886.Google Scholar
  38. Minshall, G. W., R. C. Peterson, and C. F. Nimz. 1985. Species richness in streams of different size from the same drainage basin.American Naturalist 125:16–38.Google Scholar
  39. Naveh, Z., and A. S. Lieberman. 1984. Landscape ecology: theory and application. Springer-Verlag, New York, 356 pp.Google Scholar
  40. Noss, R. F. 1983. A regional landscape approach to maintain diversity.BioScience 33:700–706.Google Scholar
  41. Noss, R. F. 1985a. On characterizing presettlement vegetation: how and why.Natural Areas Journal 5(1):5–19.Google Scholar
  42. Noss, R. F. 1985b. Landscape considerations in reintroducing and maintaining the Florida Panther: design of appropriate preserve networks. Unpublished report submitted to the Florida Panther Technical Advisory Council, 32 pp. + figures.Google Scholar
  43. Odum, H. T. 1983. Systems ecology: an introduction. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 644 pp.Google Scholar
  44. Paine, R. T. 1966. Food web complexity and species diversity.American Naturalist 100:65–75.Google Scholar
  45. Paine, R. T., and S.A. Levin. 1981. Intertidal landscapes: disturbance and the dynamics of pattern.Ecological Monographs 51:145–178.Google Scholar
  46. Pickett, S. T. A., and J. N. Thompson. 1978. Patch dynamics and the size of nature reserves.Biological Conservation 13:27–37.Google Scholar
  47. Pielou, E. C. 1975. Ecological diversity. Wiley-Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  48. Pyle, R. M. 1980. Management of nature reserves. Pages 319–327in M. E. Soule and B. A. Wilcox (eds.), Conservation biology: an ecological-evolutionary perspective. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  49. Risser, P. G., J. R. Karr, and R. T. T. Forman. 1984. Landscape ecology: directions and approaches. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication 2. Champaign, Illinois, 18 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Romme, W. H., and D. H. Knight. 1982. Landscape diversity: the concept applied to Yellowstone Park.BioScience 32:664–670.Google Scholar
  51. Root, R. B. 1973. Organization of a plant—arthropod association in simple and diverse habitats: the fauna of collards (Brassica oleracea).Ecological Monographs 43:95–124.Google Scholar
  52. Schonewald-Cox, C. M., S. M. Chambers, B. MacBryde, and W. L. Thomas. 1983. Genetics and conservation: a reference for managing wild animal and plant populations. Benjamin/Cummings, Menlo Park, California, 722 pp.Google Scholar
  53. Sousa, W. P. 1979. Disturbance in marine intertidal boulder fields: the nonequilibrium maintenance of species diversity.Ecology 60:1225–1239.Google Scholar
  54. Sousa, W. P. 1984. Intertidal mosaics: patch size, propagule availability, and spatially variable patterns of succession.Ecology 65:1918–1935.Google Scholar
  55. Sprugel, D. G. 1976. Dynamic structure of wave-regeneratedAbies balsamea forests in the north-eastern United States.Journal of Ecology 64:889–911.Google Scholar
  56. Sprugel, D. G., and F. H. Bormann. 1981. Natural disturbance and the steady state in high-altitude balsam fir forests.Science 211:390–393.Google Scholar
  57. United States National Park Service. 1978. Management policies. USDI, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  58. Verner, J. 1984. The guild concept applied to management of bird populations.Environmental Management 8:1–14.Google Scholar
  59. Warren, A. 1983. Conservation and the land. Pages 19–39in A. Warren and F. B. Goldsmith (eds.), Conservation in perspective. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, UK.Google Scholar
  60. Watt, A. S. 1947. Pattern and process in the plant community.Journal of Ecology 35:12–22.Google Scholar
  61. Webb, N. R., R. T. Clarke, and J. T. Nicholas. 1984. Invertebrate diversity on fragmented Calluna-heartland: Effects of surrounding vegetation.Journal of Biogeography 11:41–46.Google Scholar
  62. White, P. S. 1979. Pattern, process, and natural disturbance in vegetation.Botanical Review 45:229–299.Google Scholar
  63. White, P. S., and S. P. Bratton. 1980. After preservation: philosophical and practical problems of change.Biological Conservation 18:241–255.Google Scholar
  64. Whittaker, R. H., and S. A. Levin. 1977. The role of mosaic phenomena in natural communities.Theoretical Population Biology 12:117–139.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Willis, E. O. 1974. Populations and local extinctions of birds on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.Ecological Monographs 44:153–169.Google Scholar
  66. Wright, H. E. 1974. Landscape development, forest fires, and wilderness management.Science 186:487–495.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reed F. Noss
    • 1
  • Larry D. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences School of Forest Resources and ConservationUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations