About this Research Topic
Ongoing global environmental change is threatening biodiversity. Climate change, land-use change, species invasions, fragmentation, and pollution are affecting species survival, movement, and persistence. These pervasive effects of global environmental changes are expected to continue in the future as threats to biodiversity and extinction debt mounts up.
Indeed, if the loss of biodiversity continues at current rates, we are on track for the first mass extinction event in 65 million years, and the first whose root cause is the actions of a single biological species - humankind. Besides species extinctions, we are facing general decreases in species population sizes, shifts in species assemblages, and alterations of key processes that maintain ecosystem functioning and the services they provide, thus also impacting human livelihoods and well-being. The variety of ecosystems, species and genes, has a stabilizing effect on ecosystem functions over time and space. Changes in biodiversity are observed over a broad range of ecosystems, including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, from tropical to boreal regions, and also across scales of space and time and disciplinary borders.
Conservation actions in the form of, for example, management policies or protected areas, need to be spatially explicit. These spatially explicit conservation assessments, however, require interdisciplinary approaches that provide innovative understanding of biodiversity and the human society. The obvious disciplines involved are often ecology and geography, but remote sensing, sociology, political science, and governance also play critical roles. We focus on spatially-explicit applications because they address the processes underlying the observed patterns in species, communities, and ecosystems. These spatial processes emerge between the interaction of organisms and their biotic and abiotic environment. These interactions can be exploitative such as via the use of resources, or by direct or indirect behavioral interactions such as apparent or direct competition, mutualism, etc. Spatial patterns and processes can be described, measured, and understood through a set of techniques and data emerging from both theoretical and empirical fields.
We welcome contributions that work towards spatially explicit conservation efforts, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary approaches. Those with a strong background in remote sensing, social science, or governance are particularly encouraged to submit articles.
Keywords: Spatial ecology, conservation planning, biodiversity, ecosystem function, social-ecological systems
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