The importance of wildlife conservation in the agricultural Midwest has long been recognized. Likewise, the impact of habitat fragmentation within human-perturbed landscapes has received increased attention. Theoretically there exists an optimum degree of fragmentation at the landscape scale (e.g. to maintain both interior and edge species) that will permit an integrative approach to sustainable agriculture, as well as to conserve biotic diversity at a greater spatial and temporal scale. We propose a method for comparing biotic diversity within and between fragmented landscapes. This method encompasses both natural and human-subsidized components of the landscape mosaic. A sustainable landscape approach to conserving biotic diversity will require the cooperation of land-use planners, public land owners, policy makers, resource managers, and wildlife biologists, to name a few, at a scale seldom addressed in a human-dominated landscape. We describe a representative watershed (Four-Mile Creek Watershed) in Ohio and Indiana within which we outline an approach to wildlife habitat conservation that attempts to optimize biotic diversity and sustainable agricultural productivity. A new paradigm, namely agrolandscape ecology, is needed if we are to manage landscape elements (corridors and patches) within an agricultural landscape matrix. Approaches using ecological theory, hierarchy theory, landscape planning, and problem-solving algorithms must be integrated if society is to simultaneously increase habitat quality and implement a sustainability approach to landscape management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law