Management of the living world will be effective only if we understand how problems and solutions change with scale. The main pressures on Europeís terrestrial biodiversity (i.e. habitat loss and fragmentation, disturbance, and climate change) and the socio-economic drivers behind these pressures act differently at different scales. Effective conservation measures must thus explicitly consider a) scales at which effects occur and b) any interactions among the pressures that cause non-linearities among and within the different scales. Consequently, effective policy interventions may need to be scale-sensitive, employing appropriate governmental levels for planning, decision-making, and management.
SCALES stands for Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales. The SCALES project will seek ways to build the issue of scale into policy and decision making and biodiversity management. The general objective of SCALES is to provide the most appropriate assessment tools and policy instruments to foster our capacity for biodiversity conservation across spatial and temporal scales and to disseminate them to a wide range of users. This general objective can be broken down into seven detailed objectives:
1) Assess and model the socio-economic driving forces and resulting environmental pressures (habitat loss and fragmentation, changing climate, disturbance) affecting European across scales.
2) Analyse the scale-dependent impacts of these pressures on components of biodiversity ranging from genes to speciesí populations to biotic communities and ecosystems;
3) Develop and evaluate new methods for upscaling and downscaling to facilitate the provision of environmental, ecological, and socio-economic information at relevant and matching scales.
4) Assess the effectiveness and efficiency of policy instruments and identify innovative policy instruments to address scale-related conservation problems; improve multilevel biodiversity governance;
5) Evaluate the practical suitability and matching of methods and policy instruments to deliver effective European biodiversity conservation across scales, using networks of protected areas, regional connectivity, and monitoring of status and trend of biodiversity as a common testing ground;
6) Translate the results into policy and management recommendations and integrate them in a web based support tool kit (SCALETOOL) to support sustainable conservation action across scales.
7) Disseminate the results to policy makers, biodiversity managers, scientists, and the general public.