Socioecological drivers facilitating biodiversity conservation in traditional farming landscapes

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Traditional farming landscapes have evolved as tightly coupled socioecological systems that support high biodiversity. However, land‐use change severely threatens the high biodiversity of these landscapes. Navigating nature conservation in such landscapes requires a thorough understanding of the key drivers underpinning biodiversity. Through empirical research on mammals, birds, butterflies, and plants in a traditional cultural landscape in Romania, we revealed seven hypothesized drivers facilitating biodiversity conservation. Similar proportions of three main land‐use types support the landscape species pool, most likely through habitat connectivity and frequent spillover between land‐use types. Landscape complementation and supplementation provide additional habitat for species outside their core habitats. Gradients of woody vegetation cover and gradients in land‐cover heterogeneity provide mosaic landscapes with wide ranges of resources. Traditional land‐use practices underpin landscape heterogeneity, traditional land‐use elements such as wood pastures, and human–carnivore coexistence. Top‐down predator control may limit herbivore populations. Lastly, cultural ties between humans and nature have a central influence on people’s values and sustainable use of natural resources. Conservation approaches should aim to maintain or restore these socioecological drivers by targeting the heterogeneous character of the forest–farmland mosaic at large scales through “broad and shallow” conservation measures. These large‐scale measures should be complemented with “deep and narrow” conservation measures addressing specific land‐use types, threats, or species. In both cases, conservation measures should integrate the entire socioecological system, by recognizing and strengthening important links between people and the environment.

ZeitschriftEcosystem Health and Sustainability
Seiten (von - bis)1-9
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 20.11.2015

Bibliographische Notiz

We thank all the fieldworkers for their tremendous efforts in the field and data entry. We are grateful to the entire team whom helped us during this project especially Andra Milcu, Dave Abson, Friederike Mikul-cak, Henrik von Wehrden, Jannik Schultner, Julia Leventon, Lucas Teixeira, Lunja Ernst, Marlene Roellig, and Tibor Hartel. We thank the Milvus group in Targu Mures for their collaboration on bear distribution and the Mihai Eminescu Trust for logistical support. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on a previous draft of the manuscript. The project was funded by a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to J. Fischer and a Bear Research and Management Grant of the International Association for Bear Research and Management to I. Dorresteijn. Part of the data collection on bear distribution was supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Sectorial Operational Plan - Environment (POS Mediu) under the project ‘‘For nature and local communities - the basis for a Natura 2000 integrated management in the Hârtibaciu -Târnava Mare - Olt area.’’ I. Dorresteijn, J. Loos, J. Hanspach, and J. Fischer designed the study, and collected and analyzed the data. I. Dorresteijn wrote the paper. J. Loos, J. Hanspach, and J. Fischer commented and improved the paper.


  • Ökosystemforschung - coupled human and natural systems, countryside biogeograph, cultural landscapes, human– environment systems, landscape ecology, resilience, Romania, Special Feature: Ecosystem Management in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe, Transylvania