The maintenance of biodiversity by securing representative and well-connected habitat networks in managed landscapes requires a wise combination of protection, management, and restoration of habitats at several scales. We suggest that the integration of natural and social sciences in the form of “Two-dimensional gap analysis” is an efficient tool for the implementation of biodiversity policies. The tool links biologically relevant “horizontal” ecological issues with “vertical” issues related to institutions and other societal issues. Using forest biodiversity as an example, we illustrate how one can combine ecological and institutional aspects of biodiversity conservation, thus facilitating environmentally sustainable regional development. In particular, we use regional gap analysis for identification of focal forest types, habitat modelling for ascertaining the functional connectivity of “green infrastructures”, as tools for the horizontal gap analysis. For the vertical dimension we suggest how the social sciences can be used for assessing the success in the implementation of biodiversity policies in real landscapes by identifying institutional obstacles while implementing policies. We argue that this interdisciplinary approach could be applied in a whole range of other environments including other terrestrial biota and aquatic ecosystems where functional habitat connectivity, nonlinear response to habitat loss and a multitude of economic and social interests co-occur in the same landscape.
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Vol. 32 • No. 8