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Functional Landscapes and the Conservation of Biodiversity: 

Functional Landscapes and the Conservation of Biodiversity Karen Poiani & Brian Richter (and many of our TNC colleagues)

Take Home Messages: 

Take Home Messages Conservation targets occur at multiple scales Conservation areas must be functional Functional sites, landscapes, networks Implementation through ERP, SCP, MOS

Part I: 

Part I Multiple Levels of Biological Organization & Spatial Scales

Conservation Targets : 

Genes Landscapes Species Communities Ecosystems Levels of biological organization Conservation Targets

Geographic or Spatial Scale: 

Geographic or Spatial Scale Genes Landscapes Species Communities Ecosystems Levels of biological organization

Slide7: 

Matrix Communities & Systems Large Patch Communities & Systems Small Patch C&S Medium/Large River Systems & Large Lake Systems Stream Systems & Medium Lake Systems Aquatic Macro- habitats  Species  Communities  Ecological Systems Species Terrestrial Communities & Systems Aquatic Systems

Slide8: 

Regional Scale Species Coarse Scale Species Intermediate Scale Species Local Scale Species  Species Species Local Scale Species Intermediate Scale Species Coarse Scale Species Regional Scale Species Bay checkerspot butterfly Sandplain gerardia Desert pupfish Prairie dog Timber rattlesnake Dwarf wedge mussel Prairie chicken Black bear Lake sturgeon Pronghorn Jaguar Salmon

Slide9: 

Matrix Communities & Systems Large Patch Communities & Systems Small Patch C&S  Communities  Ecological Systems Fen Alpine summit Serpentine grassland Small Patches Matrix Spruce fir forest Tallgrass prairie Sagebrush steppe Large Patches Red maple swamp Riparian mosaic Coastal beaches & dunes Terrestrial Communities & Systems

Slide10: 

Medium/Large River Systems & Large Lake Systems Stream Systems & Medium Lake Systems Aquatic Macro- habitats  Ecological Systems Aquatic Systems 10 acre alpine cirque lake 1st order, cold, high gradient, groundwater-fed stream Four mile section of a large, warm water, floodplain river Aquatic Macrohabitats Medium-Large River Systems & Large Lake Systems 6th order, warm water river and tributaries 5000 acre groundwater-fed, mesotrophic lake Stream Systems & Medium Lake Systems 3rd order, warm water stream and tributaries 1000 acre, fishless, alkaline desert playa lake

Slide11: 

Moses Coulee, E. Washington Regional Intermediate Local Coarse Species Terrestrial Systems Aquatic Systems Shrub-steppe matrix (i.e., assemblage of big sagebrush & bunchgrass communities) Riparian vegetation complex Cliffs and talus habitats Sage grouse Pygmy rabbit Breeding colony of spotted bats Seeps and springs

Slide12: 

Madrean oak and oak-pine woodlands Mesic canyons with perennial water and associated riparian communities, seeps, springs, cienegas Ramsey Canyon & Chiricahua leopard frog Mixed conifer forests at high elevations Globally rare (G1-G3) plant species Huachuca Mountains, Arizona Regional Intermediate Local Coarse Species Terrestrial Systems Aquatic Systems

Part II: 

Part II Functionality

Functional Conservation Area: 

Functional Conservation Area An area that maintains our biodiversity targets and supporting ecological processes within their natural ranges of variability over the long term.

Natural Range of Variability: 

Natural Range of Variability Amount of fluctuation expected under minimal or no influence from human activities over time frames relevant to conservation planning & management.

Characteristics: 

Characteristics Size & configuration dictated by targets. Support targets over long term (100+ yrs), including ability to respond to change. Often include human activities -- functionality influenced by these activities. May require management or restoration to maintain functionality.

Slide18: 

Natural Ranges of Variability How do you tell if it’s functional?

Slide19: 

Functionality = Biodiversity Health Composition & Structure Minimum Dynamic Area Environmental Regimes & Disturbances Connectivity Condition Size Landscape Context Natural Ranges of Variability

Slide20: 

Biodiversity Health

Part III: 

Part III Functional Sites, Landscapes & Networks

Slide22: 

We are doing a good job protecting all the cogs and wheels, but will the clock run? - Sam Pearsall NCFO

Slide23: 

 Rare elements  Limited spatial scales  Functionality often questionable  All biodiversity  Multiple spatial scales  Terrestrial & aquatic  Functionality is often high  Beyond individual sites  The Wildlands vs TNC

Slide24: 

Regional Coarse Intermediate Local Regional Coarse Intermediate Local Irreplaceable occurrences High priority for action All component biodiversity Re-visit targets 4 Scales Multi-Scale Conservation 3 Scales 2 Scales 1 Scale

Functional Landscapes: 

Functional Landscapes Benefits More habitat & habitat diversity Larger populations Complex gradients More efficient to conserve Holistic approach Challenges Exponentially more complex Substantial resources needed to understand & monitor New strategies often needed How to deploy strategies Thresholds of use

Part IV: 

Part IV Implementation

Slide27: 

ECOREGIONAL PLANNING SITE CONSERVATION PLANNING MEASURES OF SUCCESS STRATEGIES & ACTIONS TNC’s Conservation Process

Slide28: 

Ecoregional & Site Conservation Planning Measures of Success Multi-Scale Targets Functionality

Challenges Ahead: 

Challenges Ahead Dealing with small functional sites Designing functional networks Defining SCP targets at functional landscapes Assessing viability of ecological systems efficiently & effectively

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