Beyond Reserves: A Research Agenda for Conserving Biodiversity in Human-modified Tropical Landscapes

The authors’ central argument is best put in their own words: “To truly understand the current status and forecast the future state of tropical diversity, we must also understand levels and patterns of biodiversity in landscapes actively managed and modified by humans for a wide variety of traditional and commercial purposes, including hunting and gathering, agriculture, extractive forestry, and plantations of native or exotic species. Further, we must investigate how these patterns are affected by different human practices, land-use dynamics, spatial contexts, and socioeconomic contexts along a gradient of landscape modification, from smallholder agriculture to large-scale forestry and industrial commodity production.”

They then raise questions for restoration ecology at the landscape level. Especially important are those that regard the costs and benefits of different restoration objectives.

Although this article does a good job situating this week’s reading of Geert etal. in the broader conservation/restoration research, and thereby bringing it closer to the analysis of Holl etal. in the other assigned article, it remains too vague in its recommendations for improving the focus of restoration ecology projects and research. What are, for example, the socio-economic factors that mold the considerations of land managers and restoration ecologists when selecting the scale of a site for restoration project/research?

Gustavo Oliveira

Image credit: USDA NRCS

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