The Devon Wildlife Trust has released an innovative new online tool that allows users to assess the resilience of habitats in Devon. Diversity and complexity within a habitat is essential to its integrity, functionality and overall resilience. However land use practices such as agriculture, forestry and urbanisation have resulted in the simplification of habitats and as a result the loss of important ecosystem services such as flood alleviation and carbon storage, as well as their reduced ability to support threatened species.
Developed in conjunction with the MET office and using information held with Devon Wildlife Trust and Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, this mapping tool uses 5 indices that represent the different components that collectively influence how robust our habitats are. These 5 indices are;
Habitat status index – this index looks at the legal status and the level of protection assigned to the habitat.
Positive management Index – this ranks areas by how good the land management practices are.
Climate sensitivity Index – this index looks at the habitats sensitivity to climatic variability.
Habitat fragmentation index – this index assesses the size, shape and isolation of a habitat in conjunction with the quality of the intervening matrix.
Topography index – this index translates areas with greater variation in elevation, slope and aspect to those with higher resilience.
These indices can be viewed individually or all five of these indices can be combined to produce a single habitat resilience index. Further to this, it is possible to manipulate the map in order to personalise the index to suit your specific needs. Designed to help inform decision makers, this map is a fantastic new tool that can be utilised by a wide range of audiences. For more information and to use the map itself visit http://188.8.131.52/Culm/