A clear definition of habitat sensitivity to support environmental management

Canadian Science Publishing
FACETS
Published in
1 min readMar 7, 2024

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Aerial view of a lake and forest in the morning with mist over the forest in the distant horizon, and blue skies with fluffy white clouds.
Aerial view of a lake and forest in the morning with mist over the forest in the distant horizon. Credit: Paul Hartley. Photo from iStock.

A common feature of many environmental laws and policies is the idea that highly sensitive habitats should be treated differently than less sensitive habitats.

However, the term habitat sensitivity means different things to different people — and even among scientists there is no clear method to compare sensitivity of different ecosystems.

Read this open access paper on the FACETS website.

We developed a quantitative definition of habitat sensitivity based on three subcomponents:

· habitat resistance is the ability of a habitat to maintain its features and functions,

· habitat resilience is the speed at which a habitat can recover from a disturbance, and

· habitat recoverability is the amount of recovery that a habitat will achieve.

Then, we showed how these concepts can be measured from habitat monitoring data and compared among different habitats.

If implemented, this approach to assessing habitat sensitivity could help simplify habitat management decisions and encourage more standardization in the way that environmental policies are applied.

Read the paper — What is habitat sensitivity? A quantitative definition relating resistance, resilience, and recoverability to environmental impacts by Cody J. Dey, Erik I. Tuononen, Emma E. Hodgson, D. Andrew R. Drake, Marten A. Koops, and Cindy Chu.

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Canadian Science Publishing
FACETS

Canada's not-for-profit leader in mobilizing scientific knowledge making it easy to discover, use, and share. www.cdnsciencepub.com