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The Monteregie Connection: linking landscapes, biodiversity, and ecosystem services to improve decision making

Abstract : To maximize specific ecosystem services (ES) such as food production, people alter landscape structure, i.e., the types of ecosystems present, their relative proportions, and their spatial arrangement across landscapes. This can have significant, and sometimes unexpected, effects on biodiversity and ES. Communities need information about how land/use activities and changes to landscape structure are likely to affect biodiversity and ES, but current scientific understanding of these effects is incomplete. The Monteregie Connection (MC) project has used the rapidly suburbanizing agricultural Monteregien landscape just east of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to investigate how current and historic landscape structure influences ES provision. Our results highlight the importance of forest connectivity and functional diversity on ES provision, and show that ES provision can vary significantly even within single land-use types in response to changes in landscape structure. Our historical analysis reveals that levels of ES provision, as well as relationships among individual ES, can change dramatically through time. We are using these results to build quantitative ES-landscape structure models to assess four future landscape scenarios for the region: Periurban Development, Demand for Energy, Whole-System Crisis, and Green Development. These scenarios integrate empirical and historical data on ES provision with local stakeholder input about global and local social and ecological drivers to explore how land-use decisions could affect ES provision and human well-being across the region to the year 2045. By integrating empirical data, quantitative models, and scenarios we have achieved the central goals of the MC project: (1) increasing understanding of the effects of landscape structure on biodiversity and ES provision, (2) effectively linking this knowledge to decision making to better manage for biodiversity and ES, and (3) creating a vision for a more sustainable social-ecological system in the region.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 1:16:42 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:43:20 AM

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Matthew G. E. Mitchell, Elena M. Bennett, Andrew Gonzalez, Martin J. Lechowicz, Jeanine M. Rhemtulla, et al.. The Monteregie Connection: linking landscapes, biodiversity, and ecosystem services to improve decision making. Ecology and Society, Resilience Alliance, 2015, 20 (4), ⟨10.5751/ES-07927-200415⟩. ⟨hal-01444848⟩



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