Assessing the effects of applying landscape ecological spatial concepts on future habitat quantity and quality in an urbanizing landscape

Abstract

This study develops a quantitative approach to evaluate the application of design concepts that link landscape ecology theory to landscape planning. Landscape ecology principles were used to develop spatial concepts for creating an armature of open space in areas subject to rapid urbanization. It focuses on the predicted urban expansion of Damascus, Oregon, as a case study. An alternative futures study was used to test three open space spatial concepts for patches, corridors and networks contrasted with compact and dispersed urban development patterns. Eight scenarios of land use and land cover, over 50 years, were defined based on different spatial design concepts to evaluate their effects on habitat quantity and quality and analyze the tradeoffs between urban development and conservation of three focal wildlife species: red-legged frog, western meadowlark, and Douglas squirrel. Open space spatial concepts highly influenced habitat quantity and quality differences among scenarios. Development patterns showed lower influence on those variables. Scenarios with no landscape ecological spatial concept provided the most land for urban development but reduced habitat quantity and quality. Greenway scenarios presented increases of habitats, but failed to provide sufficient habitats for western meadowlark. Park system scenarios also presented an increase on the amount of habitats, but high-quality habitats for western meadowlark and red-legged frog decreased. Network scenarios presented the best overall amount of habitats and increase of high-quality habitats for the three species, but constrained urban development options.

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Acknowledgments

This study is part of a doctoral research funded by the CAPES Foundation (Ministry of Education of Brazil), and supported by the Fulbright Program. Additional support came from the University of Oregon and Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo. The author thanks David Hulse for his guidance and revisions, John Bolte for assistance with modeling, Bart Johnson, Rob Ribe, and Mark Gillem for comments and suggestions, and Chris Enright and Allan Branscomb for assistance with GIS mapping and analysis. The author is also thankful to the thorough reviews from the Journal Editor and Reviewers.

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Correspondence to Homero M. Penteado.

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Penteado, H.M. Assessing the effects of applying landscape ecological spatial concepts on future habitat quantity and quality in an urbanizing landscape. Landscape Ecol 28, 1909–1921 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-013-9940-7

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Keywords

  • Spatial concept
  • Urban open space scenarios
  • Compact versus dispersed development
  • Habitat quantity and quality
  • Landscape planning
  • Portland Metro