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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Spatial planning for biodiversity conservation: Assessment of forest landscapes' conservation value using umbrella species requirements in Poland

Edman, Tobias; Angelstam, Per; Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Roberge, Jean-Michel; Sikora, Arkadiusz


Maintenance of biodiversity requires spatial planning for the conservation of species habitats. In this study, the distribution of the White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) in Poland was used to assess the usefulness of a demographic model compared to an area-based model for predicting the occurrence of breeding pairs in local landscapes. The models were applied to the European Forest Map and to CORINE land cover data, two spatial databases derived from remote sensing. We tested the performance of the models by comparing predicted occurrence of the species with actual occurrence in 10 km x 10 km of the Polish Ornithological Atlas Database (POAD). Both models proved useful for identifying areas with high potential for hosting breeding woodpeckers. However, the demographic model performed consistently better at predicting the presence of at least one breeding pair in local landscapes. In north-eastern and south-eastern Poland, expected occurrences coincided with the actual occurrence of the species according to POAD. In north-western Poland, however, occurrence was predicted but not confirmed by the atlas data. The eastern regions are situated at the border to Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia. These countries hold large areas of high conservation value forests and large populations of White-backed Woodpecker. This pattern evokes the need for cross-border governance, and planning with an eco-regional perspective that considers both EU and non-EU countries. Moreover, the results stress the need to incorporate population requirements when assessing the distribution of forests with high conservation value. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Biodiversity conservation; High conservation value forest; Habitat models; Ecoregional planning; Distribution range; Europe

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2011, Volume: 102, number: 1, pages: 16-23