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Biodiversity in fragmented landscapes

Kevin Watts

Lead Author: Amy Eycott

Maintaining species’ movement around landscapes is considered important if we are to conserve populations of many species and help them adapt to climate change. Particular features in the landscape have the potential to hinder or facilitate species movement. As each species interacts with the landscape differently, it can be hard to extract general patterns to include in planning and management guidance. This Research Note draws information together to look for such patterns. Firstly, we conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature. This relatively new technique in environmental sciences allowed a quantitative meta-analysis of specific types of evidence, as well as a traditional qualitative synthesis of the wider information available on UK species. Our review confirmed that, for those species for which there is evidence, most prefer to move through landscape features similar in structure to their breeding habitat. For example, woodland species tend to prefer to move through habitats which have some elements of vertical structure. However, we also established that species are idiosyncratic and their responses have various behavioural causes. For example, some landscape features that have a contrasting structure with a species’ breeding habitat may provide better shelter from predators, while others may act as good visual cues for navigation. Secondly, we summarise species-based landscape ecological studies carried out by Forest Research over the past few years.


PDF, 1.83 MB

Publication type
Research Note
Publication owner
Forestry Commission