Modelling the benefits of habitat restoration in socio-ecological systems

Jellinek, Sacha, Rumpff, Libby, Driscoll, Don A., Parris, Kirsten M. and Wintle, Brendan A. 2014, Modelling the benefits of habitat restoration in socio-ecological systems, Biological conservation, vol. 169, pp. 60-67, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.10.023.

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Title Modelling the benefits of habitat restoration in socio-ecological systems
Author(s) Jellinek, Sacha
Rumpff, Libby
Driscoll, Don A.ORCID iD for Driscoll, Don A. orcid.org/0000-0002-1560-5235
Parris, Kirsten M.
Wintle, Brendan A.
Journal name Biological conservation
Volume number 169
Start page 60
End page 67
Total pages 8
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2014-01
ISSN 0006-3207
Keyword(s) Bayesian Networks
socio-ecological systems
expert opinion
restoration
revegetation
decision making
uncertainty
species richness
Summary Decisions affecting the management of natural resources in agricultural landscapes are influenced by both social and ecological factors. Models that integrate these factors are likely to better predict the outcomes of natural resource management decisions compared to those that do not take these factors into account. We demonstrate how Bayesian Networks can be used to integrate ecological and social data and expert opinion to model the cost-effectiveness of revegetation activities for restoring biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. We demonstrate our approach with a case-study in grassy woodlands of south-eastern Australia. In our case-study, cost-effectiveness is defined as the improvement in native reptile and beetle species richness achieved per dollar spent on a restoration action. Socio-ecological models predict that weed control, the planting of trees and shrubs, the addition of litter and timber, and the addition of rocks are likely to be the most cost-effective actions for improving reptile and beetle species richness. The cost-effectiveness of restoration actions is lower in remnant and revegetated areas than in cleared areas because of the higher marginal benefits arising from acting in degraded habitats. This result is contingent on having favourable landowner attitudes. Under the best-case landowner demographic scenarios the greatest biodiversity benefits are seen when cleared areas are restored. We find that current restoration investment practices may not be increasing faunal species richness in agricultural landscapes in the most cost-effective way, and that new restoration actions may be necessary. Integrated socio-ecological models support transparent and cost-effective conservation investment decisions. Application of these models highlights the importance of collecting both social and ecological data when attempting to understand and manage socio-ecological systems.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.10.023
Field of Research 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl Bioremediation)
050205 Environmental Management
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID LP110100321
FT100100819
Copyright notice ©2013, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30078708

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