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Scientists call policy-makers to be scale-aware
Date:8/30/2012

"alpha-diversity"), but also changes in species' composition from one habitat to another, or what is called "beta-diversity". Focusing on beta-diversity, rather than on number of species or certain focal species in a given area or scale, will certainly enhance conservation effectiveness".

Dr. Henle showed that the problem with variation is relevant not only to space but also to time. For example, areas that may be identified as critical to protect may differ if we use data from different years. Hence, even well-researched programs to select protected areas will fail if they don't consider changes in species distribution and composition between years (that is what scientists call "temporal variation").

Dr Guy Pe'er from the UFZ suggested that "connectivity between remnants of natural habitats must be more effectively included in policy and planning, in order to allow species to survive through climate change: if natural habitats remain so fragmented, many species simply will not be able to alter their distributions with changing climate". Many scientists are aware of the problem, but nevertheless connectivity still does not attract sufficient attention of policy makers and planners, partly because of dealing with "larger scale problems", so to say, of ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services. Novel individual-based simulation models, presented by Guy Pe'er and Greta Bocedi, give some tools to bridge this gap and reduce the risks of errors when moving from local studies to tackling large-scale threats.

Dr Szabolcs Lengyel and his team from the University of Debrecen, Hungary presented a survey of the literature to investigate how specific today's conservation strategies are to certain scales. Although they found a generally increasing awareness of scale-related issues in conservation, they also identified important gaps. The results of the study call conservationists and pol
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Contact: Dr. Klaus Henle
Klaus.Henle@ufz.de
49-151-122-00472
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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