Cost -effective land development with a spatially realistic ecosystem constraint
Exurban communities at the urban-rural fringe are increasingly experiencing conflict as conservationists and developers compete for a limited quantity of land. The study presented here developed a spatially-realistic conceptual framework that combines metapopulation theory, landscape ecology, land-use planning, and resource economics in order to determine the socially-desired allocation of development and preservation across an exurban landscape. The problem is one in which a social planner (e.g., town planner or regional planning council) maximizes the benefits from development subject to an ecosystem constraint that guarantees the socially-determined long-term probability of metapopulation persistence for one or more target species.
Sensitivity analysis highlights the importance of heterogeneous land rents and species-specific parameters. A higher target level of metapopulation persistence requires greater preservation in all land units, while more preservation occurs in the specific land units with lower land rents and more intensive land use. The farther the distance between two patches or the smaller the dispersal ability of the species, the greater the amount of preservation required. The distribution of preservation between habitat patches and dispersal matrix varies by species and it may be erroneous to assume that the bulk of preservation should always occur in habitat patches.
The conceptual framework was applied to a case study that examined the adequacy and cost-effectiveness of existing and newly proposed wetland policies on the long-term metapopulation persistence of amphibians. In general, landscapes with larger habitat patches and larger patch networks (higher density of patches), resulted in higher levels of amphibian metapopulation persistence. However, even the high density of wetlands in the study area did not preclude the need for protection of dispersal matrix. Wetland policies that include a modest amount of dispersal matrix protection result in long-term persistence of both species. Uniform wetland policies that treat all habitat patches and dispersal matrix units the same can achieve high levels of amphibian metapopulation persistence, but at a much higher cost than alternative policies that treat habitat patches independently and allow some patches to be fully developed while others are partially or fully protected.
Area planning & development;
Land use planning;
0999: Urban planning
0999: Area planning & development