A multi-indicator spatial similarity approach for evaluating ecological restoration scenarios
The greater Everglades region in Florida (USA) is an area of wetlands that has been altered and reduced to 50% of its original area and faces multiple threats. Spatial landscape analysis can help guide a large and complex ecosystem restoration process, involving billions of dollars and multiple groups of stakeholders.
To guide Everglades restoration efforts, we evaluated ecological performance of different hydrologic restoration scenarios using a novel technique, the structural similarity index (SSIM), which quantitatively compares similarity between pairs of gridded maps in terms of mean, variance, and covariance.
Using the SSIM, we evaluated system-wide performance of apple snails, American alligators, Great egrets, and long- and short-hydroperiod vegetation types under multiple restoration scenarios that varied in water management strategies, amounts of water storage, removal of levees and canals (decompartmentalization), and seepage control barriers. We then compared species and habitat responses under each restoration scenario to a target scenario simulating the historical, natural system.
The SSIM approach provides a reliable means of scenario comparison, accounting for both the local magnitude and spatial structure of the underlying data. Our results demonstrated that decompartmentalization benefits the indicator species. In general, scenarios with increased water storage were closer to the target scenario.
This spatial comparison technique is useful for evaluating restoration efforts at multiple spatial scales, ranging from the entire ecosystem down to individual compartments or sub-compartments. The results can be used to inform management and restoration efforts and to guide policy for the greater Everglades area.
KeywordsQuantitative spatial comparison Wetlands restoration Everglades region Structural similarity index Landscape analysis
We thank two anonymous reviewers for providing comments on this manuscript. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
- Bennetts RE, Collopy MW, Rodgers JA (1994) The snail kite in the Florida Everglades: a food specialist in a changing environment. Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FlGoogle Scholar
- Borkhataria R, Childers DL, Davis SE, Victor E, Gaiser E, Harvey J, Lodge TE, Miralles-Wilhelm F, Naja GM, Osborne T, Rivero RG, Ross MS, Trexler J, Van Lent T, Wetzel PR (2011) Synthesis of Everglades research and ecosystem services. Everglades Foundation, Palmetto Bay, FlGoogle Scholar
- Lodge TE (2010) The Everglades handbook: understanding the ecosystem, 3rd edn. CRC Press-Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FlGoogle Scholar
- Long J, Robertson C (2018) Comparing spatial patterns. Geogr. Compass 12:e12356Google Scholar
- Mazzotti FJ, Brandt LA (1994) Ecology of the American alligator in a seasonally fluctuating environment. Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Boca Raton, pp 485–505Google Scholar
- Mitsch WJ, Gosselink JG (2015) Wetlands of the world, 5th edn. Wiley, Hoboken, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- NAS Committee on Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy (1992) Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology and Public Policy. National Research CouncilGoogle Scholar
- NAS Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, (2003) Adaptive monitoring and assessment for the comprehensive Everglades restoration plan. National Academies Press, Washington D. CGoogle Scholar
- National Research Council (2018) Progress toward restoring the Everglades: the seventh biennial review, 2018. The National Academies Press, Washington D. CGoogle Scholar
- Novitzki RP, Smith RD, Fretwell (1996) Restoration, creation, and recovery of wetlands: wetland functions, values, and assessmentGoogle Scholar
- Ogden JC (1994) A comparison of wading bird nesting colony dynamics (1931–1946 and 1974–1989) as an indication of ecosystem conditions in the southern Everglades. Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, Fl, pp 533–570Google Scholar
- Paudel R, Van Lent T, Wiederholt R (2019) Predicting the Everglades ecosystem response to changes in key hydrologic restoration componentsGoogle Scholar
- Pearlstine L, Friedman S, Supernaw M (2011) Everglades landscape vegetation succession model (ELVeS) Ecological and Design Document: Freshwater Marsh & Prairie Component version 1.1. Everglades National Park, National Park Service, Homestead, FloridaGoogle Scholar
- Shinde D, Pearlstine LG, Brandt LA, Mazzotti FJ, Parry MW, Jeffery BM, LoGalbo A (2014) Alligator production suitability index model (GATOR—PSIM v. 2.0): ecological and design documentation. South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, FloridaGoogle Scholar
- Sklar FH, Chimney MJ, Newman S, McCormick P, Gawlik D, Miao S, McVoy C, Said W, Newman J, Coronado C, Crozier G (2005) The ecological–societal underpinnings of Everglades restoration. Front Ecol Environ 3:161–169Google Scholar
- South Florida Water Management District, (2006) Natural system model (NSM). West Palm Beach, FloridaGoogle Scholar
- Sykes Jr PW, Rodgers Jr JA, Bennetts RE (1995) Snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis). The birds of North America. The Academy of Natural Sciences and the American Ornithologists’ Union No 171, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District (1999) Central and Southern Florida project comprehensive review study, final integrated feasibility report and programmatic environmental impact statement. Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
- Yee L (2018) Binned relative environmental change indicator (BRECI): a tool to communicate the nature of differences between environmental niche model outputs. Wilfrid Laurier University, MastersGoogle Scholar
- Zulian G, Stange E, Woods H, Carvalho L, Dick J, Andrews C, Baró F, Vizcaino P, Barton DN, Nowel M, Rusch GM, Autunes P, Fernandes J, Ferraz D, Ferreira dos Santos R, Aszalós R, Arany I, Czúcz B, Priess J, Hoyer C, Bürger-Patricio G, Lapola D, Mederly P, Halabuk A, Bezak P, Kopperoinen L, Viinikka A (2018) Practical application of spatial ecosystem service models to aid decision support. Ecosyst Serv 29:465–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar