Duarte et al., A user-inspired framework and tool for restoring multifunctional landscapes

Duarte, G.T., M. Mitchell, F. Martello, E.J. Gregr, A.P. Paglia, K.M.A. Chan and M. C. Ribeiro (2020). “A user-inspired framework and tool for restoring multifunctional landscapes: putting into practice stakeholder and scientific knowledge of landscape services.” Landscape Ecology 35: 2535–2548. Doi: 10.1007/s10980-020-01093-7 (This work resulted from Gabi’s visit at UBC.)

Planning for multifunctional landscapes is a way to restore ecological processes that benefit human well-being (ecosystem services—ES). By accounting for the effects of the spatial arrangement of restored areas, planners can enhance the positive outcomes of restoration activities. However, while there are many models for individual ES provision, the direct influence of landscape structure on multiple ES has not been integrated into practical tools that planners can use.

We aimed to develop a modelling framework to support a landscape-scale evaluation of multiple services, by identifying bundles of ES that respond similarly to landscape structure and providing a tool to support the prioritization of restoration efforts.

Based on current literature for examples and scientific support, our framework first considers stakeholders’ interests, and then states the main ES features that planners need to identify to understand which landscape structure to pursue with restoration actions. We also developed a tool that uses simple, readily available data to prioritize locations for restoration across landscapes.

With our framework, it becomes possible to integrate ES preferences and context-dependent management options that are understandable to a broad audience. We identified ten ES bundles with a unique response to landscape structure. We used eight of them in our tool, simplifying planner’s management decisions for multiple benefits.

Our framework and tool have a great potential to support landscape planning and management decisions that aim to increase landscape multifunctionality and will encourage actions towards landscape sustainability across both public and private lands.