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CHECNET : coupling human and ecological networks

 

Human networks of settlements and roads are a threat to ecological networks of natural habitats. Functional ecological networks are necessary to ensure biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems. Most ecosystems have the capacity to absorb human-made changes and maintain their functioning up to a certain threshold. Human societies also can adapt their land-use or behaviour to ensure that ecosystem thresholds are not reached. Due to the complex interactions between human and ecological networks, it is difficult to determine how land use and transportation changes affect biodiversity. The CHECNET project aims at discovering thresholds in ecological networks caused by changes in human networks.

 

Human networks of settlements and roads are a threat to ecological networks of natural habitats. Functional ecological networks are necessary to ensure biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems. Most ecosystems have the capacity to absorb human-made changes and maintain their functioning up to a certain threshold. Human societies also can adapt their land-use or behaviour to ensure that ecosystem thresholds are not reached. Due to the complex interactions between human and ecological networks, it is difficult to determine how land use and transportation changes affect biodiversity. The CHECNET project aims at discovering thresholds in ecological networks caused by changes in human networks.

 

 

 

First, a method to construct ecological networks from readily available occurrence data of species making use of habitat suitability models, occupancy models  and spatial network analyses is developed. Variables from human networks are used as explanatory variables in these ecological networks, allowing to study how ecological networks react to human networks. Second, a survey amongst the Swiss population is carried out to find trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and residential and transportation choices. The survey results are implemented in a land-use transportation model to make spatially explicit predictions on settlement development and traffic flows changes. Third, the results of the first two parts are combined in a model coupling ecological and human networks. This model is used to identify thresholds of functionality in the ecological network. The results are of relevance for landscape planning and implementing ecological infrastructure into Swiss landscapes

External CHECNET project website