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Journal Article 
Evaluating the ecological effects of social agent scenarios for a housing development in the Atlantic Forest 
Hardt, E; dos Santos, RF; Pereira-Silva, EFL 
Ecological Indicators
ISSN: 1470-160X
EISSN: 1872-7034 
Environmental planning must define criteria that permit comparisons among past landscapes and future scenarios that are easily understood by all of the social agents involved in the shared planning decision. The present study evaluated the ecological effects of alternative implementations of one residential housing development proposed by agents on protected areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Based on these agents' proposals, this study created five future scenarios and compared these with three historic landscapes and an expected legally protected landscape. The comparison was based on certain criteria that determine forest conservation value. The metrics we used included resource availability, potential connectivity, and forest fragmentation tendency. Our results highlight the importance of considering the compliance map with legal expectation as a reference, as well as the limitations of environmental laws for the purpose of forest conservation. We conclude that housing development maintains the landscape connectivity and may not result in substantial forest loss in area. In contrast, regardless of the proposed future scenario, the housing development does not guarantee optimum resource availability, and metric values are lower than in historic landscapes. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 
Fragmentation; Connectivity; Forest resources; Landscape metrics; Environmental law; Decision making