Designing optimal human-modified landscapes for forest biodiversity conservation

Designing optimal human-modified landscapes for forest biodiversity conservation


Current land-use patterns have resulted in the rapid conversion of forests to human modified forest landscapes (HMFLs). This degradation of forest landscapes can threaten species diversity and disrupt the ecological functions and services they provide. As such, designing and implementing effective landscape conservation strategies that benefit biodiversity as well as promote human well-being is essential.

This paper reviews concepts on species responses to local and landscape variables such as % forest cover, number of forest patches and other metrics to generate an 'ideal HMFL' to guide conservation efforts

Conclusions & takeaways

According to the authors, an ideal mixed-use landscape should have at least 40% forest cover, with 10% occurring in a single large patch and the remaining in several smaller patches, including elements such as living fences and isolated trees. The authors iterate that the health and productivity of forests depend on the landscape it is embedded in; hence, land-use models should incorporate a landscape-scale approach.


Arroyo‐Rodríguez, Víctor, Lenore Fahrig, Marcelo Tabarelli, James I. Watling, Lutz Tischendorf, Maíra Benchimol, Eliana Cazetta, et al. “Designing Optimal Human‐Modified Landscapes for Forest Biodiversity Conservation.” Ecology Letters 23, no. 9 (2020): 1404–20.


  • Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad,Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Morelia, Mexico
  • Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • Departamento de Bota^nica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
  • John Carroll University,University Heights, OH, USA
  • LUTIS Modelling and Consulting Inc, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil
  • Departamento de Sistematica e Ecologia, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Paraiba, Brazil
  • Coordenacao de Botanica, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, CP 399, Belem, Para, Brazil
  • Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei, Darussalam
  • Working Land and Seascapes, Conservation Commons, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA
  • Agroecology, Dept. of Crop Sciences, Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use (CBL), University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany