How unique is Manchester?
Governments are becoming much more environmentally aware and seeking to develop sensitive policies that take a broader, ecosystem service perspective. It is important that these services are set in real landscapes and we identify their individual characteristics so we are not surprised when a policy that works in one location fails in another. Questions, well known to landscape ecologists, include How do we define a landscape? Where are its boundaries? What makes it different? and Who holds the data?
Manchester may seem unusual as a focus for landscape ecology as it is a large urban conurbation, but using it as an example the paper will attempt to address these questions from the perspective of renewable energy. The Manchester energyscape will be described showing how the energy sources, infrastructure and demand can be presented in ways that can be interpreted with other ecosystem services so the trade offs in development can be highlighted.
Existing environmental monitoring provides a baseline of evidence, but every dataset has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Recognising these qualities not only lets us maximise the benefits from existing data but also we can point out where data are inadequate or missing and answers are not as robust as we would like them to be.
Manchester is unique, but it shares characteristics with all other unique sites. The paper will suggest ways that landscape ecology can have impact in planning and management and hopefully open discussion about new lines of research.