Mapping Local-Scale Ecological Research to Aid Management at Landscape Scales




Natural resource management is typically defined by landscape-scale management zones, such as the Catchment Management Authority boundaries of the southern Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. Ecological research generally deals with local-scale phenomena, with studies at the scale of such landscape management units arising only recently. We developed a method that links local-scale ecological research to landscape-scale management zones, which is presented here as a geographical bibliographic database. This research proceeded in four phases. First, we assessed three decades of ecological research in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment in Victoria, Australia, using this method, revealing the locations where research has taken place across the landscape, and the research themes dominant in different bioregions. Second, we assessed the purposes to which the method could be applied. Third, we tested the method against one of these potential purposes to review ecological research in a subcatchment case study. Last, we interrogated the method to answer an ecological question. This methodological analysis demonstrated that mapping ecological research in this way allows the user to identify geographic gaps in research coverage, assist in limiting search results to a location of interest and to address location-specific ecological questions. In combination with landscape classification methods, such as biogeographic regionalisation units, this method can be used to evaluate research coverage across similar ecological communities.