Lines in the sand: quantifying the cumulative development footprint in the world’s largest remaining temperate woodland

Raiter, Keren G., Prober, Suzanne M., Hobbs, Richard J. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2017) Lines in the sand: quantifying the cumulative development footprint in the world’s largest remaining temperate woodland. Landscape Ecology, 32 10: 1969-1986. doi:10.1007/s10980-017-0558-z


Author Raiter, Keren G.
Prober, Suzanne M.
Hobbs, Richard J.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Lines in the sand: quantifying the cumulative development footprint in the world’s largest remaining temperate woodland
Journal name Landscape Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1572-9761
0921-2973
Publication date 2017-10-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10980-017-0558-z
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 32
Issue 10
Start page 1969
End page 1986
Total pages 18
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Context

The acceleration of infrastructure development presents many challenges for the mitigation of ecological impacts. The type, extent, and cumulative effects of multiple developments must be quantified to enable mitigation.

Objectives

We quantified anthropogenic development footprints in a globally significant and relatively intact region. We identified the proportion accounted for by linear infrastructure (e.g. roads) including infrastructure that is currently unmapped; investigated the importance of key landscape drivers; and explored potential ramifications of offsite impacts (edge effects).

Methods

We quantified direct development footprints of linear and ‘hub’ infrastructure in the Great Western Woodlands (GWW) in south-western Australia, using digitisation and extrapolation from a stratified random sample of aerial imagery. We used spatial datasets and literature resources to identify predictors of development footprint extent and calculate hypothetical ‘edge effect zones’.

Results

Unmapped linear infrastructure, only detectable through manual digitisation, accounts for the greatest proportion of the direct development footprint. Across the 160,000 km2 GWW, the estimated development footprint is 690 km2, of which 67% consists of linear infrastructure and the remainder is ‘hub’ infrastructure. An estimated 150,000 km of linear infrastructure exists in the study area, equating to an average of ~1 km per km2. Beyond the direct footprint, a further 4000–55,000 km2 (3–35% of the region) lies within edge effect zones.

Conclusions

This study highlights the pervasiveness of linear infrastructure and hence the importance of managing its cumulative impacts as a key component of landscape conservation. Our methodology can be applied to other relatively intact landscapes worldwide.
Keyword Cumulative impacts
Development footprint
Ecological impact assessment
GIS
Great Western Woodlands
Indirect impacts
Linear infrastructure
Offsite impacts
Road ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 03 Nov 2017, 09:13:38 EST