"Anthropogenic land use change, caused by increasing needs for energy and resources, is driving dramatic changes in biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and consequently ecosystem services, such as water quality or crop pollination. New quantitative tools are needed to refine our understanding and projections of these processes into the coming century. Such tools are needed to develop policies and management strategies (e.g. ecological networks) required to mitigate the effects of climate change and land-use change. We will develop such a tool by adapting and coupling BIOMOVE, an existing landscape modelling shell, to existing ecosystem services models, in order to simulate vegetation dynamics in the Monteregie (a case study region in south west Quebec), a biodiversity-rich area with a highly fragmented landscape. The model will be combined with projections from regional climate models and planned land use changes in the Monteregie to simulate future changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. We will then analyse the effects of changing landscape connectivity by establishing ecological networks linking forest fragments with corridors within the region. The model will help search for synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity and ecosystem services. The model will also uncover potential critical connectivity thresholds for key elements of regional biodiversity and associated services (e.g. plant-pollinator interactions). Finally, we will test the robustness of various ecological network designs to projected natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and in so doing rank the importance of the different habitat nodes and corridors to connectivity and landscape resilience."
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