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Integrating processes across scales to understand and predict ecological dynamics in landscapes

Project description

Designing connected landscapes: quick fix or deadlock for biodiversity conservation

Habitat loss is arguably the greatest threat to the world’s biodiversity. As human activities involve expanding built areas, options to preserve large extents of natural habitats are reduced. The spatial organisation of the remaining habitats (configuration) and the potential for organisms to move among habitat remnants in the landscape (matrix permeability) thus appear as critical variables. However, the window of opportunity offered by the management of theses variables along with the amount of habitat has been the subject of debate among scientists since the 1970s, thus limiting the possibilities for decision support in spatial planning. The EU-funded SCALED project aims to solve this debate by combining modelling and empirical approaches at various spatial scales and for multiple organisms.


"The accelerating loss and fragmentation of natural habitats are major threats to biodiversity, the very foundation of our life-supporting system. High land pressure at the global scale reduces opportunities to preserve large amounts of habitat. Habitat configuration (i.e. spatial arrangement) and matrix resistance (i.e. easiness for animals to move between habitat patches) remain the only possible adjustment variables to sustain biodiversity. What the management of habitat configuration and matrix resilience offers as ""window of opportunity"" for conservation has been subject to debate since the 1970s. Resolving this debate is now critical. This is the objective of this project.
SCALED will investigate key ecological processes for multiple organisms and at multiple scales to:
1) understand the circumstances under which different habitat configurations - at fixed habitat amount - can lead to higher or lower levels of biodiversity; 2) understand and quantify the role of matrix resistance - at fixed habitat amount and habitat configuration – in shaping biodiversity in landscapes;
3) generalize and predict how habitat amount, habitat configuration and matrix resistance affect biodiversity with trait-based and process-based modelling.
SCALED combines a new model based on traits and processes at the individual-level with a set of multi-scale innovative empirical experiments, monitored with ambitious sampling designs and a range of advanced tools including landscape genetics and movement telemetry.
SCALED will offer a unique opportunity to validate our predictive model with unprecedented observations of movement, demographic and species-interaction processes under crossed conditions of habitat amount, habitat configuration and matrix resistance. SCALED can also bring wide applications, because public and private land planners deeply need effective decision guidelines and readily usable tools able to bring scientific support to land planning decision-making.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 978,00
Rue michel ange 3
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)