Landscape restoration in a mixed agricultural-forest catchment: Planning a buffer strip and hedgerow network in a Chilean biodiversity hotspot

Abstract

Guidance for large-scale restoration of natural or semi-natural linear vegetation elements that takes into account the need to maintain human livelihoods such as farming is often lacking. Focusing on a Chilean biodiversity hotspot, we assessed the landscape in terms of existing woody vegetation elements and proposed a buffer strip and hedgerow network. We used spatial analysis based on Google Earth imagery and QGIS, field surveys, seven guidelines linked to prioritization criteria and seedling availability in the region’s nurseries, and estimated the budget for implementing the proposed network. The target landscapes require restoring 0.89 ha km−2 of woody buffer strips to meet Chilean law; 1.4 ha km−2 of new hedgerows is also proposed. The cost of restoration in this landscape is estimated in ca. USD 6900 per planted ha of buffer strips and hedgerows. Financial incentives, education, and professional training of farmers are identified as key issues to implement the suggested restoration actions.

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Acknowledgements

This study is the result of a collaboration funded by the “Attraction and insertion of advance human capital” Programme of the CONICYT (Chilean Ministry of Education) Project PAI80160058. Field work and GIS analysis were funded by Fondecyt Projects 1171445 and 1141294. We acknowledge additional support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity (project ref. CGL2014-53308-P), the government of Madrid (Project Reference S2013/MAE-2719 REMEDINAL-3) and by CEH National Capability funding (project NEC06429). A. M. thanks to CONICYT/Doctoral National Program/21140409. Three anonymous reviewers of a previous version of this manuscript helped to improve both its content and presentation.

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Correspondence to José M. Rey Benayas.

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Rey Benayas, J.M., Altamirano, A., Miranda, A. et al. Landscape restoration in a mixed agricultural-forest catchment: Planning a buffer strip and hedgerow network in a Chilean biodiversity hotspot. Ambio 49, 310–323 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01149-2

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Keywords

  • Connectivity
  • Conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Farmland
  • Land-sharing
  • Living fences