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Determining Ecological Value
come from:Isis | time:2014-3-10 | views:

- Isis Project No 9345

An assessment tool for mapping ecologically important landscapes beyond protected areas; the tool highlights locations of high ecological value to avoid when siting new facilities.

A new Local Ecological Footprinting tool, LEFT, addresses a growing need to assess the ecological impact of industrial and business facilities outside of protected areas. The online method from Oxford integrates existing globally available databases and models to provide an ecological score based on five key features: biodiversity, vulnerability,fragmentation, connectivity and resilience. The end product is a map which indicates ecological value across the required landscape. The detail provided is sufficient to be relevant for landscape planning decisions, unlike alternative tools that provide much coarser data output.

Key features

• Authorative; designed by researchers at the world-class Biodiversity Institute at the University of Oxford
• High resolution; 300m pixel resolution within any given region in the world
• Comprehensive; coverage not limited to protected areas
• Simple data inputs; Co-ordinates (latitude and longitude) of the site location are all that are required
• Low cost; pay-as-you-go with no large annual subscription fees

Environmental impact assessment

The primary users of this tool will be those practitioners, both in industry and independent practice, who are responsible for understanding environmental impact. The method provides a pre-planning approach for use before a more costly fieldbased assessment is undertaken, although it could also be used to provide additional information for formal Environmental Impact Assessments.

Using the tool

Interested end-users are able to access the LEFT tool via the online portal here/. Credits may be purchased via the online shop, which can then be redeemed against each use of the tool. Organisations interested in negotiating more comprehensive, ongoing access to the tool are invited to contact Isis Innovation for a long-term subscription.