From Biodiversity to Ecodiversity: A Landscape-Ecology Approach to Conservation and Restoration



An environmental revolution is urgently needed that will lead to a post-industrial symbiosis between man and nature. This can be realized only if the present unrestrained biological impoverishment and neotechnological landscape degradation are replaced by the creation of healthy and attractive landscapes. Restorationists can fulfill a vital role in this process. They must broaden their scales from biodiversity restoration in small, protected nature islands to the large-scale restoration of natural and cultural landscapes. To achieve this they must restore not only the patterns of vegetation but also the processes that create these patterns, including human land uses. Their goal should be to restore the total biological, ecological, and cultural landscape diversity, or “ecodiversity,” and its intrinsic and instrumental values of highly valuable, endangered seminatural, agricultural and rural landscapes. For this purpose it is essential to maintain and restore the dynamic flow equilibrium between biodiversity, ecological, and cultural landscape heterogeneity, as influenced by human land uses, which occur at different spatial and temporal scales and intensities. Recent advances in landscape ecology should be utilized for broader assessment of ecodiversity, including proposed indices of ecodiversity, new techniques such as Intelligent Geographical Information Systems (IGIS), and Green Books for the holistic conservation and restoration of valuable endangered landscapes. Restoration ecology can make an important contribution to an urgently needed environmental revolution. This revolution should lead to a new symbiosis between man and nature by broadening the goal of vegetation restoration to ecological and cultural landscape restoration, and thereby to total landscape ecodiversity.