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Biodiversity in DrylandsToward a Unified Framework$
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Moshe Shachak, Stewart T. A. Pickett, James R. Gosz, and Avi Perevolotski

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195139853.001.0001

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Management for Biodiversity: Human and Landscape Effects on Dry Environments

Management for Biodiversity: Human and Landscape Effects on Dry Environments

(p.286) 17 Management for Biodiversity: Human and Landscape Effects on Dry Environments
Biodiversity in Drylands

Avi Perevolotsky

Moshe Shachak

Oxford University Press

Biodiversity is one of the principal pillars of natural ecosystems. In fact, biodiversity can be interpreted as a manifestation of the various biotic and abiotic components of the ecological systems and their mutual interactions or as the totality or variation (chapter 19). Biodiversity applies at different realms of ecological criteria: organism (genetic/phenological), species, habitat, and landscape (Loidi 1999, Noss 1990). Historically, it was the specific assemblage of organisms—the species diversity—that attracted the attention of scientists. Later, the effect of landscape structure on biological diversity, through habitat and niche properties, became an additional focus of biodiversity research (Malanson and Cramer 1999). The impact of different disturbances on the ecosystem and community structure has also become part of the study of landscape–biodiversity interrelationships (Moloney and Levin 1996; Trabaud and Galtie 1996). In this chapter we present a third dimension that affects biodiversity: human intervention through management and land-use patterns. One may consider this dimension as another source of disturbance, but we believe that such an approach is narrow. In contrast to disturbance, management is intentional, directional, goal-oriented, and, in some cases, scientifically or professionally guided. Human societies have modified the biodiversity of their environments since prehistoric time. Traditional land use that has evolved from ancient practice usually produces highly diverse landscapes based on knowledge of old systems of land exploitation (Loidi 1999). In Scotland, for example, biodiversity was enhanced by the interactions between farmers and the woodlands surrounding the agricultural fields (Tipping et al. 1999). Modern afforestation schemes fail to create diverse woodlands similar to the ancient ones. Maintenance of biodiversity through active management has recently become an important challenge for modern conservation (Monkkonen 1999). In this chapter, we use a conceptual model of human–biodiversity relationships and apply it to water-limited systems. The model describes how ecosystem services provided to traditional and modern societies are enhanced by management actions. The ecosystem services discussed in this chapter are water accumulation, food production (mainly through primary production), and recreation potential. The essence of the model is that without external input of water, ecosystem services are controlled by relationship between landscape mosaic, ecosystem processes, and organisms.

Keywords:   Bedouins, Dispersal, Ecosystem resilience, Forests, Human activities, Landscape structure, Mediterranean climate, Niche

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