The news section informs you about new developments of the software and everything else that has to do with it. It keeps you updated with new versions, new plugins and new publications using the software.
A new global map of roadless areas shows that the Earth’s surface is shattered by roads into more than 600,000 fragments. More than half of them are smaller than 1 km2. Roads have made it possible for humans to access almost every region but this comes at a very high cost ecologically to the planet’s natural world. Roads severely reduce the ability of ecosystems to function effectively and to provide us with vital services for our survival. Despite substantial efforts to conserve the world’s natural heritage, large tracts of valuable roadless areas remain unprotected. The study shows that the United Nations’ sustainability agenda fails to recognize the relevance of roadless areas in meetings its goals.
Recent research carried out by an international team of conservation scientists and published in Science used a dataset of 36 million kilometres of roads across the landscapes of the earth. They are dividing them into more than 600,000 pieces that are not directly affected by roads. Of these remaining roadless areas only 7% are larger than 100 km2. The largest tracts are to be found in the tundra and the boreal forests of North America and Eurasia, as well as some tropical areas of Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Only 9% of these areas undisturbed by roads are protected.
Roads introduce many problems to nature. For instance, they interrupt gene flow in animal populations,facilitate the spread of pests and diseases, and increase soil erosion and the contamination of rivers and wetlands. Then there is the free movement of people made possible by road development in previously remote areas, which has opened these areas up to severe problems such as illegal logging, poaching and deforestation. Most importantly, roads trigger the construction of further roads and the subsequent conversion of natural landscapes, a phenomenon the study labels “contagious development”.
“Our global map provides guidance on the location of the most valuable roadless areas. In many cases they represent remaining tracks of extensive functional ecosystems, and are of key significance to ecological processes, such as regulating the hydrological cycle and the climate,” says Pierre Ibisch, lead author of the study based at the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany.
The researchers used a large data base generated through crowd-sourcing, the OpenStreetMap platform. “This was the best available source of information to produce a global map for roadless areas although it was clear to us the data were incomplete. Our figures overestimate roadless areas, and we know many of the areas have already gone or been reduced in size”, explains Monika Hoffmann, co-author from Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development who carried out the spatial analyses.
“All roads affect the environment in some shape or form including timber extraction tracks and minor dirt roads, and the impacts can be felt far beyond the road edge. The area most severely affected is within a 1-km band on either side of a road,” says Nuria Selva, co-author of the study with the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, Poland.
The study shows that the United Nations’ agenda for sustainable development, brought into force in 2015 and now referred to as the Sustainable Development Goals, presents conflicts of interest between generating economic growth and safeguarding biodiversity. Some goals threaten the remaining roadless areas. However, limiting road expansion into roadless areas could be the most cost-effective way to achieve Sustainable Development Goals that relate to preserving the world’s natural heritage. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity just held its Conference of the Parties in Cancún, Mexico. Its strategic plan is represented by the so-called Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The Science study shows how this conservation plan ignores the need of safeguarding roadless areas.
“As roads continue to expand, there is an urgent need for a global strategy for the effective conservation, restoration and monitoring of roadless areas and the ecosystems they comprise. We urge governments to avoid the costly building of roads in remote areas, which would be ecologically disastrous,” Pierre Ibisch concludes.
The study is a joint effort of an international team of ten conservation scientists from six countries, all members of the Roadless Initiative of the Society for Conservation Biology (www.conbio.org). Maps and information on the Roadless Initiative at www.roadless.online.
The paper can be accessed under http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6318/1423.full
A new publication is mapping the exposure of surface water to wildfire. Especially forests in the tropical wet and dry forests seem to be more exposed.
Robinne F. N., C. Miller, M.A. Parisien, M.B. Emelko, K.D. Bladon, U. Silins, M. Flannigan (2016) A Global Index for Mapping the Exposure of Water Resources to Wildfire. Forests 7(1):22 doi:10.3390/f7010022.
Finally, we managed to create native installers for all three primary operating systems.
One of the main advantages of the new versions is that you will be notified about new plugins and developments and that you will be able to update your version automatically.
Roads and traffic have been shown to have multiple negative effects on ecosystems for example through traffic noise, road kills of animals, isolation of populations and loss of habitat. These negative impacts are however difficult to quantify. A paper just published in Landscape Ecology presents a new methodology for the assessment of disturbance through roads and traffic. The so-called SPatial ROAd Disturbance Index, short SPROADI, is based on a spatial assessment of road density and corresponding landscape fragmentation as well as traffic intensity.
The methodology is applied to a case study region, the Federal State of Brandenburg in northern Germany, which has a relatively high density of roads and traffic: The study led by a team from the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development and Writtle College in the UK, was carried out as part of the ‘Roadless areas initiative’ of the Europe Section of the Society for Conservation Biology. The conservation of roadless and traffic-poor areas is an important strategy for safeguarding the functioning of ecosystems, which, in turn, maintains resilience in the face of climate change and secures the long-term provision of ecosystem services. “Ecosystems that have a higher level of disturbance are generally less capable of dealing with perturbations and to adapt to environmental change,” says Professor Ibisch, senior author of the study and Professor for Nature Conservation at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany.
he findings produced for the Brandenburg case study suggested managed forests, in particular pine plantations, suffered the greatest fragmentation from roads after urban areas. The explanation given in the paper alluded to the extent of past and current commercial use of forests notwithstanding the national statutory protection status given to tree-covered landscapes. The study also revealed little difference in road disturbance between protected areas and surrounding non-protected landscape. The findings of the study point to certain weaknesses in existing criteria used for planning and prioritising sites for conservation, and call for a revision of the environmental indicators used in the process, which could include measures of road disturbance.
Roads can trigger a cascade of environmental disturbances in landscapes. Previously undisturbed areas become accessible for hunting, deforestation, spare time activities, the building of houses or further infrastructural development once roads are established. “We hope that SPROADI can be applied in different countries and areas of the world to provide a quantifiable measure of the negative impact of roads. The research produced in this project is intended to contribute to the conservation of road-less areas worldwide.” says Lisa Freudenberger. The study has been produced as part of her doctoral thesis.
FREUDENBERGER, L., P.R., HOBSON, S., RUPIC, G., PE’ER, M., SCHLUCK, J. SAUERMANN, S. KREFT, N., SELVA AND P.L. IBISCH (2013): Spatial Road Disturbance Index (SPROADI) for conservation planning: a novel landscape index, demonstrated for the State of Brandenburg, Germany. Landscape Ecology, doi:10.1007/s10980-013-9887-8.
A new Insensa-GIS version has been released which is now including a practical installer and updater function. The highlights are:
A new paper has been published in the international peer-reviewed journal "Biodiversity and Conservation" using Insensa-GIS for index development and sensitivity analysis. The authors present the "EcoSocioClimateWise Index" for global conservation priority setting based on indicators for ecological and socioeconomical attributes of areas as well as the likelihood of severe climate change impacts. The paper is available at here.
Freudenbergere, L., Hobson, P., Schluck, M., Kreft, S., Vohland, K., Sommer, H., Reichle, S., Nowicki, C., Barthlott, W., Ibisch, P. L. (2013) Nature conservation: priority-setting needs a global change. Biodiversity and Conservation, Doi:10.1007/s10531-012-0428-6
A new publication "A global map of the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems" is now in press in the Journal "Ecological Complexity" using Insensa-GIS to create a global terrestrial Ecosystem Functionality Index.
L Freudenberger, P R Hobson, M Schluck, P L Ibisch (in press) "A global map of the functionality of terrestrial ecosystems. Ecological Complexity, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecocom.2012.08.002
In this paper different indicators for the ability of ecosystems to dissipate energy and accumulate exergy are combined into an index of ecosystem functionality. A corresponding sensitivity analysis has also been performed.
A book has been released with the title "Regionale Anpassung des Naturschutzes an den Klimawandel: Strategien und methodische Ansätze zur Erhaltung der Biodiversität und Ökosystemdienstleistungen in Brandenburg" (Regional Adaptation of Nature Conservation to Climate Change: Strategies and Methodological Approaches for the Protection of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). The book has been released with a circulation of 1000 at the beginning of August 2012 and can be downloaded here (only in German, but including an English executive summary). A flyer informing about the book can be downloaded here.
Some studies in the book are using Insensa Gis for analysis:
Lisa Freudenberger, Martin Schluck & Pierre L. Ibisch (2012): Bewertung der Funktionstüchtigkeit von Ökosystemen im Klimawandel– neuartige Prioritätensetzung auf der Grundlage aktueller Ökosystemforschung. p. 144-155 in: Pierre L. Ibisch, Stefan Kreft & Vera Luthardt (Eds.): Regionale Anpassung des Naturschutzes an den Klimawandel: Strategien und methodische Ansätze zur Erhaltung der Biodiversität und Ökosystemdienstleistungen in Brandenburg. Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde, Eberswalde.
Julia Sauermann, Lisa Freudenberger, Jan-Peter Mund & Pierre L. Ibisch (2012): Naturschutzpriorisierung von Waldflächen am Beispiel des Landkreises Barnim, Brandenburg. p. 156-167 in: Pierre L. Ibisch, Stefan Kreft & Vera Luthardt (Eds.): Regionale Anpassung des Naturschutzes an den Klimawandel: Strategien und methodische Ansätze zur Erhaltung der Biodiversität und Ökosystemdienstleistungen in Brandenburg. Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde, Eberswalde. (ISBN 978-3-00-038210-9.)
A new beta version has been released with some important bug fixes. A bug was reported for the map display with count values information reader.
The bug was fixed. Now the maps are displayed using linear interpolation. The map view using count values is now available as a plug-in making it easier to adjust it in case there are any other problems or ideas for further development.
You can download the new software version here and the plugin here.
I decided to publish an early new beta version because of some serious bugs.
For example, there were some problems with JRE 7.2 and also with the gdal build on linux.
For all changes see changes
Downloads available here.
Tomorrow, 23 September 2011, we are launching our first workshop and beta-testing of INSENSA GIS in the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (Germany). We invited selected employees and members of the University. In the workshop we will demonstrate the functionality of INSENSA-GIS, prepare them to work with the software themselves and find remaining bugs of the software.