San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

(Webinar) Density-Weighted Connectivity for Landscape Management and Connectivity Conservation

May 19, 2017 10:30am

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Abstract: Many conservation efforts are focused on maintaining connectivity of protected areas or reserves as a biodiversity or species conservation strategy. The intended purpose of such corridors is to provide regions of the landscape that facilitate movement of individuals. Specific objectives include increasing gene flow, reducing isolation and inbreeding, increasing fitness and survival of species, and allowing species to move and adapt to changes in the landscape. Corridor conservation typically focuses on either 1) conserving areas that support high abundance of species to reduce the risk of demographic stochasticity or 2) conserving areas that allow individuals to move between reserve areas to maintain gene flow. Most corridor design applications focus on patterns of habitat and landscape structure (structural connectivity). However, the impetus of corridor design is the process of animal movement (functional connectivity). Functional connectivity considers the degree to which the landscape facilitates or impedes the movement of organisms and is the product of landscape structure and the response of organisms to this structure. However, maintenance of spatially structured populations requires considerations of both species abundance as well as functional landscape connectivity. Professor Fuller presents a model for corridor design in the Chocó-Andean region of Ecuador, home to the endangered Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and numerous endemic and threatened birds and describe a novel metric related to biodiversity conservation and corridor design. She uses the ecological distance-based spatial capture-recapture model that simultaneously estimates species density and spatial aspects of animal population structure. The density-weighted connectivity metric is derived from encounter history data commonly collected in capture-re