Document Type


Publication Title

Landscape Ecology


Springer Verlag

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Publication Date

Summer 8-2015

Publisher location

Berlin, Germany

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Abstract/ Summary

Context: Landscape ecology theory provides insight about how large assemblages of protected areas (PAs) should be configured to protect biodiversity. We adapted these theories to evaluate whether the emergence of decentralized land protection in a largely private landscape followed the principles of reserve design. Objectives: Our objectives were to determine: (1) Are there distinct clusters of PAs in time and space? (2) Are PAs becoming more spatially clustered through time? and (3) Does the resulting PA portfolio have traits characteristic of ideal reserve design? Methods: We developed an historical dataset of the PAs enacted since 1900 in the northern New England region of the US. We conducted spatio-temporal clustering, landscape pattern, and aggregation analyses at both the landscape scale and for specific classes of land ownership, conservation method, and degree of protection. Results: We found the frequency of PAs increased through time, and that area-weighted clusters of PAs were heavily influenced by a few recent large PAs. PA clustering around preexisting PAs was driven primarily by establishment of large PAs focused on natural resource management, rather than strict reserves. Since 1990, the complete portfolio has increased in aggregation, but reserve patches have become less aggregated and smaller, while patches that allow extractive uses have become more aggregated and larger. Conclusions: Our extension of landscape ecology theory to a diverse portfolio of PAs underscores the importance of prioritizing conservation choices in the context of existing PAs, and elucidates the landscape scale effects of individual actions within a portfolio of protected areas.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Meyer, S.R., Beard, M.K., Cronan, C.S., & Lilieholm, R.J. 2015. An Analysis of Spatio-Temporal Landscape Patterns for Protected Areas in Northern New England: 1900-2010. Landscape Ecology. Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 1291-1305. 10.1007/s10980-015-0184-6

Publisher Statement

© The Author(s) 2015. This article is published with open access at




post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)



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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.