Balancing trade-offs between biodiversity and production in the re-design of rangeland landscapes
The conflict that exists between the competing needs of biological conservation and pastoral production is well recognised but few studies have examined these conflicts due to their complexity and the uncertainty that surrounds these relationships. The development of a Bayesian network model that examines the trade-offs between the conservation value of the landscape for a range of taxa (flora, mammals, birds and herpetofauna) and its primary production value under alternative land uses is described. The model emphasises structural diversity of vegetation and ecosystem productivity as key drivers of both biodiversity and agricultural production. Simple scenarios, used to examine the influence of different land uses on multiple components of biodiversity and agricultural productivity, demonstrated the potential for the analysis of the trade-offs associated with alternative landscape designs. The potential of the model, as a planning or policy development tool for land management agencies or regional Natural Resource Management bodies, at multiple scales, is identified.