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Grasping darkness: the dark ecological network as a social-ecological framework to limit the impacts of light pollution on biodiversity

Abstract : Artificial light at night (ALAN) is nowadays recognized as a major anthropogenic pressure on the environment on a global scale and as such is called light pollution. Through its attractive or deterrent effects, and its disruption of the biological clock for many animal and plant taxa, ALAN is increasingly recognized as a major threat to global biodiversity, which ultimately alters the amount, the quality, and the connectivity of available habitats for taxa. Biodiversity conservation tools should, therefore, include ALAN spatial and temporal effects. The ecological network, i.e., the physical and functional combination of natural elements that promote habitat connectivity, provides a valuable framework for that purpose. Understood as a social-ecological framework, it offers the opportunity to take into account the multiple uses of nocturnal spaces and times, by humans and nonhumans alike. Here we present the concept of "dark ecological network." We show this concept is able to grasp the effects of ALAN in terms of habitat disturbances and integrates temporal dimensions of ecological processes into biodiversity conservation planning. Moreover, it is also intended to trivialize the practices of darkness protection by turning them into the ordinary practices of land use planning. From an operational point of view, the challenge is to translate the levers for reducing ALAN-induced effects into a political method for its "territorialization." To achieve this objective, we propose a course of action that consists of building an interdisciplinary repertoire of contextualized knowledge (e.g., impacts on wildlife, human/lightscape relationship, existing legal tools, etc.), in order to deduce from it a number of practical supports for the governance of the dark ecological network in response to societal and ecological issues.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03147531
Contributor : Samuel Challéat <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 9:22:09 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 3:08:17 PM

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Samuel Challéat, Kévin Barré, Alexis Laforge, Dany Lapostolle, Magalie Franchomme, et al.. Grasping darkness: the dark ecological network as a social-ecological framework to limit the impacts of light pollution on biodiversity. Ecology and Society, Resilience Alliance, 2021, 26 (1), pp.15. ⟨10.5751/ES-12156-260115⟩. ⟨hal-03147531⟩

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