Field Studies and Habitat Connectivity
Land use planners and conservation scientists have become interested in how to measure, model and map landscape connectivity for plant and wildlife species as a way of mitigating the effects of habitat loss on wildlife populations making our reserve networks resilience to climate change.
Following the publication of our book titled “Corridor Ecology: The Science and Practice of Connectivity for Biodiversity Conservation”, we have been engaged in quantitative research to map habitat connectivity and identify linkages necessary for wildlife movement. Our specific goal is to develop an approach to modeling landscape connectivity that relies on landscape metrics, or indicators of landscape integrity, which can be derived from consistent and detailed data on human disturbances and the built environment. This is in contrast to the more traditional methods that rely on combining several or dozens of focal species models, each of which have associated uncertainties, to identify linkages. Equally important, we are working on modeling species persistence and exploring the influence of protecting individual linkages on the persistence of biodiversity under different spatially explicit conservation scenarios.
We also conduct field studies to examine the extent to which corridors are used by species and to estimate how land use type and intensity influences species distributions. These large-scale field studies have included work on meso-carnivores, birds, salmon, and most recently, bats.