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SCALES goes global in addressing critical issues in nature conservation

Scientists involved in SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales), a large-scale integrating research project funded by the 7th Framework Program (FP7) of the European Union, have identified several critical issues in nature conservation caused by mismatches between the scale at which ecological processes take place and those at which management and policy decisions are made. The need for implementation of scale-based approaches in policy and management becomes urgent.

Similar problems exist worldwide and can be resolved with joint effort at a multi-scale, international level. A team of Taiwanese scientists from the National Taiwan University (NTU) has joined the EU project SCALES since 2011, and the first results of the successful cooperation have been presented at a dedicated SCALES meeting held in Taipei on Taiwan, from 26th of November to 1st of December, 2012.

Dr. Klaus Henle from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ in Leipzig, Germany and coordinator of SCALES opened the discussion: "The threats to nature have no borders, but it is not sufficient to manage them just by comparing the experience of the researchers from different countries. It is crucially important to experiment and test one and the same methods and practices in different biogeographical regions, under different social and cultural traditions".

Prof. Yu-Pin Lin from the National Taiwan University (NTU), supported by National Science Council of Taiwan (ROC), added: "Scientists should be cautious when proposing nature conservation measures, because their conclusions may be based on an inappropriate scale. This is why the SCALES team at NTU have put substantial effort into producing a novel knowledge and an array of web-based tools that bridge this gap and reduce the risks of errors when moving from local to large-scale studies and conservation practices both in EU and Asia. The tools allow planners to make the collection and analysis of monitoring data more efficient and to identify the national responsibilities of the different countries for the conservation of species, considering biogeographical and global scales".

The cooperation in studying the problem of scale in ecological research and nature conservation will result in proposing a set of best-practice recommendations and novel approaches with applicability under various environmental and societal conditions. Connectivity between remnants of natural habitats must be more effectively included in policy and planning, in order to allow species to survive through global change: if natural habitats remain so fragmented, many species simply will not be able to alter their distributions with changing environment.

The accumulated conservation practices and recommendations will be summarized in a SCALES Tool, a web-based interactive platform that will facilitate planning and decision-making. The key recommendations will also be summarized in a concise policy brief that will be translated and distributed in several European languages, as well as in Chinese and Japanese.

Contact: Dr. Klaus Henle
Pensoft Publishers

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