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Testing the ecological principles of forest landscape restoration

Brouwers, N.C. and Newton, A. (2007) Testing the ecological principles of forest landscape restoration. In: 7th IALE World Congress, 8 - 12 July, Wageningen, The Netherlands.



In recent decades, human activities have increasingly fragmented native forest habitat in many parts of the world. This is associated with ongoing loss of natural habitat, which is increasingly recognised as the main cause of biodiversity loss (Fahrig, 2003). In several countries, conservation policy now stresses the need to preserve, expand and re-connect habitat fragments at a landscape scale to reverse the continuous loss of species.

In the United Kingdom, woodland conservation is focussing on efforts to reduce and reverse current fragmentation and habitat loss (Peterken, 2002). This has resulted in several policy initiatives focussing on the concept of creating Forest Habitat Networks (FHN) (e.g. Humphrey et al., 2005). These initiatives focus on new woodland development towards linking existing woodland fragments together (Peterken, 2002; Humphrey et al., 2005). This approach is based on the belief that creating new native woodland on suitable locations reduces the negative effects of habitat fragmentation on woodland biodiversity by providing links and ‘stepping stones’ between isolated populations of woodland species (e.g. Spellerberg and Gaywood, 1993).

Dolman and Fuller (2003) suggest that more studies are necessary on woodland specialists species to provide a firmer basis for current management strategies. To address this knowledge gap, research was undertaken on a specialist woodland invertebrate, the wood cricket (Nemobius sylvestris) on the Isle of Wight, UK. Wood cricket is associated with native broadleaved woodlands as its preferred habitat (Richards, 1952) and is of local conservation concern. The main objective was to determine the landscape scale distribution of this species in order to assess whether patch- and landscape-scale variables are related to its occurrence. The results of this study were used to critically examine the principles underpinning woodland restoration and evaluate current forest policy.

Item Type: Conference Item
Notes: Abstract of invited talk in: Bunce, R.G.H., Jongman, R.H.G., Hojas L. and Weel S. (Eds) 2007. 25 years Landscape Ecology: Scientific Principles in Practice. Proceedings of the 7th IALE World Congress 8 – 12 July Wageningen, The Netherlands, IALE Publication series 4, pp. 1051-1052
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