Negative landscape change and impacts on biodiversity, as a consequence of
development, must be mitigated for. In the UK mitigation is carried out through a
variety of policy and planning instruments whose delivery measures are often
piecemeal, thus restricting their ability to address the cumulative landscape
impacts of multiple developments. One proposed response is the adoption of a type
of mitigation banking - "habitat banking", where the creation, management or
restoration of habitats is funded by the purchase of credits by the developer. This
research proposes that spatial targeting of habitat bank locations is crucial to fully
mitigate development impacts whilst maximising landscape function benefits.
A landscape scale modelling approach was developed for a case study area in the
South Midlands to investigate spatial targeting of habitat banks, with ecological
networks and ecoprofiles employed to guide their location. Ecological effects of
bank composition, size and location were examined, combined with a network
analysis to determine people's access to natural greenspace in the same area, and
subsequently compared against the current selection mechanism - Accessible
Natural Greenspace Standards (ANGSt). Changes resulting from human
population growth and habitat bank introduction were examined in association
with impacts of climate change on potential bank locations over a 50 year period,
whilst a chain of climate envelope, dispersal and colonisation models determined
the ability of ecoprofiles to keep pace with climate changes. The ability of habitat
banks to contribute to landscape functionality was determined both spatially and
Habitat banks identified by the models increased the existing ecological network
size by a factor of up to 2.72:1 and were able to deliver the majority of habitat
creation targets set out in regional biodiversity action plans (BAPs). 100% of
wetland, unimproved grassland and broadleaf and mixed woodland creation targets
were met, whilst only 75% of the lowland heath target could be achieved. Multihabitat
banks of over 3700 ha were identified with such areas determined to be of
importance in achieving landscape improvements for a wide range of species.
Although ANGSt targets were not met, habitat bank locations did increase overall
greenspace accessibility for over 3000 people. The ability of ecoprofiles to track
climate change was directly related to both the area and connectivity of habitat
patches, with the broadleaf woodland ecoprofile being the most capable of adapting
to predicted climate change. Habitat banks contributed to increased landscape
functionality in the short-term but predicted climate change impacts become
insurmountable in the medium to long-term, drawing into question the long-term
viability of the landscape in its current state to withstand potential climate
Permanent link to this resource: https://doi.org/10.24384/46qn-8j39
Supervisors: Thompson, Stewart; Wilson, Elizabeth
Faculty of Health and Life SciencesDepartment of Biological and Medical Sciences
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