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SCALETOOL IntroductionDriversBiodiversityPolicies and managementConnectivity and protected areas
Purpose of the SCALETOOL Key issues Conceptual framework The meaning of “scale”
 

Key issues

SCALETOOL covers the scaling of drivers of biodiversity change, scaling of biodiversity patterns and processes from the genetic level through to selected ecosystem functions, and scaling of policies and management across administrative levels, from local levels up to the European Union. It provides access to tools (methods, software, and protocols) and data that allow the user to assess or visualise scaling effects. The SCALES project focuses on applying the tools and databases to questions of regional connectivity and protected area networks and to biodiversity monitoring. Case studies illustrate some of the methods particularly suitable for studying scaling issues or providing insights into the relevance of scaling for biodiversity management or policy.

SCALETOOL is structured in a modular way.

In the module on drivers, we provide a classification of drivers into scale sensitivity classes. We include tools that allow mapping of drivers across both spatial and temporal scales and we illustrate predicted future habitat fragmentation for a range of land cover types.

The module on biodiversity patterns and processes provides an overview of conservation science at four ecological levels: genetics, demography, community assembly, and ecosystem functioning. Important questions of spatial and temporal scaling in biodiversity patterns are outlined, along with recommendations on how ecological processes should be accommodated by land managers and conservation planners.

The module on policies and management addresses the complexity and gradual accumulation of environmental problems that exacerbate challenges for appropriate governance at various scales. In this module we identify a number of scale challenges and possible responses to them. Besides an overview of social science theory on scales and governance, we provide recommendations for green infrastructure, site selection, management of protected areas, biodiversity monitoring, and ecological fiscal transfers.

Regional connectivity and networks of protected areas are evaluated in another module. This includes detailed definitions of different kinds of connectivity and an exploration of different measures of them as well as a discussion of the usefulness of such concepts and measures when scaling up from small to large areas, and from single to multiple species. Guidelines for researchers and practitioners are given in order to enhance consideration of connectivity in conservation policy and management.

In the module tools, we compile methods, mainly developed within SCALES, which facilitate accounting for scaling issues in conservation. There are tools for connectivity assessments, up- and down-scaling, and simulating ecological processes. Each tool is illustrated with specific example studies. Moreover, cross-links are provided to further frequently used ecological models relevant to scaling issues.

New and published data are made available here to help assess and visualise scaling effects. The compilation comprises species specific trait data, life history, and functional trait data (including dispersal and minimum area requirements) for plants, insects, reptiles and birds across Europe.

Case studies from six countries (Finland, France, Greece, Poland, Taiwan and UK) illustrate key results of the SCALES project on national and subnational levels, as well as at the European level.

Copyright and disclaimer: SCALES and SCALETOOL

CONDITIONS OF USE: We explicitly encourage the use of SCALETOOL. SCALETOOL is freely available for non-commercial use provided you acknowledge SCALES as source. For more extensive access to databases (e.g. for statistical analyses or if you want to contribute data), tools, or background material, please contact the SCALES coordinator (send us email).

All rights reserved. USE THIS SOFTWARE AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE SCALES TEAM WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT OR INDIRECT DAMAGE OR LOSS CAUSED BY THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THIS SOFTWARE.

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