Incorporating temporality and biophysical vulnerability to quantify the human spatial footprint on ecosystems

Etter, A., McAlpine, C. A., Seabrook, L. and Wilson, K. A. (2011) Incorporating temporality and biophysical vulnerability to quantify the human spatial footprint on ecosystems. Biological Conservation, 144 5: 1585-1594. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.004


Author Etter, A.
McAlpine, C. A.
Seabrook, L.
Wilson, K. A.
Title Incorporating temporality and biophysical vulnerability to quantify the human spatial footprint on ecosystems
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2011-05-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.004
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 144
Issue 5
Start page 1585
End page 1594
Total pages 10
Place of publication The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Land use is a pervasive influence on most terrestrial ecosystems. Humans are converting natural ecosystems and appropriating an increasingly large portion of the net primary productivity of the Earth's ecosystems, leaving a rapidly expanding footprint on the environment and threatening the functioning of ecosystems and the ecological services they provide. Understanding the impacts of human activities on the environment from a local to a global scale requires an adequate representation of human modified landscapes and an explanation of the relationships between socioeconomic and biophysical factors. A first step towards this objective is the development of a quantitative measure of the spatial footprint of humans on landscapes, which can then be used as an analytical and monitoring tool for global change, biodiversity and ecosystem studies. Existing approaches have been based mainly on geographic proxies of human influence such as population density, land transformation, accessibility and infrastructure. In this paper, we developed a more comprehensive and spatially-explicit footprint index based on three dimensions: land use intensity, intervention time, and biophysical vulnerability, which we then applied to Colombia as a case study. We found the inclusion of the vulnerability index provided an effective means to address regional variability in biophysical responses to land use impacts. Accounting for the duration of human intervention provided new insights into the relative capacity of ecosystems to recover or be restored. From this knowledge, more appropriate land use policies can be developed. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Keyword Biophysical vulnerability
Human impact
Landscape transformation
Land use intensity
Monitoring
Land-Use Change
Tropical Deforestation
Human Appropriation
Agricultural Land
Extinction Debt
Conservation
Habitat
Biodiversity
Impacts
Sustainability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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