U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



K. M. Reynolds et al. (eds.), Making Transparent Environmental Management Decisions, Environmental Science and Engineering, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-32000-2_7


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Contemporary land managers are beginning to understand that landscapes of the early 20th century exhibited complex patterns of compositional and structural conditions at several different scales, and that there was interplay between patterns and processes within and across scales. Further, they understand that restoring integrity of these conditions has broad implications for the future sustainability of native species, ecosystem services, and ecological processes. Many too are hungry for methods to restore more natural landscape patterns of habitats and more naturally functioning disturbance regimes; all in the context of a warming climate. Attention is turning to evaluating whole landscapes at local and regional scales, deciphering their changes and trajectories, and formulating scaleappropriate landscape prescriptions that will methodically restore ecological functionality and improve landscape resilience. Here, we review published landscape evaluation and planning applications designed in EMDS. We show the utility of EMDS for designing transparent local landscape evaluations, and we reveal approaches that have been used thus far. We begin by briefly reviewing six projects from a global sample, and then review in greater depth four projects we have developed with our collaborators. We discuss the goals and design of each project, its methods and utilities, what worked well, what could be improved and related research opportunities. It is our hope that this review will provide helpful insights into how spatial decision support technologies may be used to evaluate and plan for local and perhaps larger-scale landscape restoration projects.