Integrated coastal reserve planning: making the land-sea connection

Ecological Society of America
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2005, 3 (8), pp. 429 - 436
Issue Date:
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Land use, watershed processes, and coastal biodiversity are often intricately linked, yet landsea interactions are usually ignored when selecting terrestrial and marine reserves with existing models. Such oversight increases the risk that reserves will fail to achieve their conservation objectives. The conceptual model underlying existing reserve selection models presumes each site is a closed ecological system, unaffected by inputs from elsewhere. As a short-term objective, we recommend extending land-conservation analyses to account for effects on marine biodiversity by considering linkages between ecosystems. This level of integration seems feasible and directly relevant to agencies and conservancies engaged in protecting coastal lands. We propose an approach that evaluates terrestrial sites based on whether they benefit or harm marine species or habitats. We then consider a hypothetical example involving estuarine nurseries. Whether this approach will produce more effective terrestrial reserves remains to be seen.
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