Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (10): 1411-1424.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021135

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Research progress on biodiversity in the rural landscape

Siqi Chen, Yujun Zhang()   

  1. School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
  • Received:2021-04-12 Accepted:2021-06-28 Online:2021-10-20 Published:2021-10-20
  • Contact: Yujun Zhang


Background & Aims: Rural landscapes provide support for a high degree of biodiversity due to the symbiotic relationship between humanity and nature in these complex ecosystems. Currently, the maintenance of biodiversity in traditional Chinese rural areas is facing complex and diverse threats, and there is an urgent need for relevant, in-depth research. Here, we conduct an in-depth review on domestic and foreign research progress of biodiversity in rural areas. We provide a theoretical framework with methodological references on best practices for the protection and maintenance of biodiversity in rural areas and support for subsequent ecological landscape planning.
Progress: In an effort to straighten biodiversity characteristics in rural landscapes, we summarizes the four current research directions for international biodiversity in rural landscape through a literature analysis: biodiversity management under agricultural intensification, the synergistic relationship between rural landscape and biodiversity at a regional scale, the species diversity of different types of rural landscapes at the local scale, and research on the biocultural aspects of rural landscapes. Research focused on biodiversity management under agricultural intensification mostly uses various farmland biodiversity indicators as dependent variables, and environmental variables such as agricultural habitat diversity, cover diversity, and land use intensity as independent variables. Among them, land use intensity is mostly replaced by semi-natural habitat ratio indicators. Current in this area is mostly focused on agricultural ecosystems, and rarely involves dynamic analyses at spatial and temporal scales. Research focused on the synergistic relationship between rural landscape and biodiversity at the regional scale is mainly focused on the impact of land cover and land use changes on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the change of vegetation diversity along the urban-rural gradient, and the optimization of urban and rural spatial patterns combined with species distribution models. Research on the species diversity of different types of rural landscapes at the local scale is mainly focused on the analysis of the maintenance mechanism for species diversity in different landscape elements (farms, gardens, settlements, woodlands, waters) at the local scale or different patch types on a plot scale. Research focused on the biocultural aspects of rural landscapes is mainly focused on changes in biocultural diversity and ecosystem cultural services at a regional scale, the impact of traditional ecological wisdom on species diversity at a landscape scale, the species composition of various rural “cultural landscapes” and “cultural forests” at the local scale, and the analysis of cultural keystone species with the background of ethnobotany. This paper further summarizes the main progress in related research directions for China.
Prospects: We recommend the following as future research directions for studying the biodiversity of rural landscapes in China: highlighting the characteristics of biocultural diversity in rural landscapes, strengthening analysis of multiple temporal and spatial scales, deepening research on the dynamic maintenance mechanism of biodiversity in rural areas, and promoting the application of biodiversity in the full-process of landscape planning.

Key words: biodiversity, rural landscape, semi-natural habitat, biocultural diversity, anthropogenic disturbance, spatial- temporal scale