Environmental Management

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 591–602 | Cite as

Should Habitat Trading Be Based on Mitigation Ratios Derived from Landscape Indices? A Model-Based Analysis of Compensatory Restoration Options for the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

  • Douglas J. Bruggeman
  • Michael L. Jones


Many species of conservation concern are spatially structured and require dispersal to be persistent. For such species, altering the distribution of suitable habitats on the landscape can affect population dynamics in ways that are difficult to predict from simple models. We argue that for such species, individual-based and spatially explicit population models (SEPMs) should be used to determine appropriate levels of off-site restoration to compensate for on-site loss of ecologic resources. Such approaches are necessary when interactions between biologic processes occur at different spatial scales (i.e., local [recruitment] and landscape [migration]). The sites of restoration and habitat loss may be linked to each other, but, more importantly, they may be linked to other resources in the landscape by regional biologic processes, primarily migration. The common management approach for determining appropriate levels of off-site restoration is to derive mitigation ratios based on best professional judgment or pre-existing data. Mitigation ratios assume that the ecologic benefits at the site of restoration are independent of the ecologic costs at the site of habitat loss. Using an SEPM for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, we show that the spatial configuration of habitat restoration can simultaneously influence both the rate of recruitment within breeding groups and the rate of migration among groups, implying that simple mitigation ratios may be inadequate.


Conservation banking Landscape ecology Mitigation ratios Population viability analysis Private lands Uncertainty 



Funding for this research was provided by a United States EPA S.T.A.R. Fellowship, a MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a MSU EEBB Summer Fellowship, and a Guest Scientist Grant from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research to DJB. We thank F. Lupi, K. Scribner, K. Millenbah, S. Friedman, and V. Grimm for comments on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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