Ecological Connectivity Analysis and Management

A special issue of Conservation (ISSN 2673-7159).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 4655

Special Issue Editors

Department of Environment and Agroforestry, Universidad Católica de Ávila, Calle de los Canteros, S/N, 05005 Ávila, Spain
Interests: biodiversity and conservation; connectivity; GIS; land use and environmental planning; remote sensing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Projects and Rural Planning, Technical University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: conservation; sustainability; biodiversity; environment; environmental impact assessment; sustainable development; conservation biology; environmental analysis; environmental management; ecosystem ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecological connectivity can be defined as the ability of a territory to facilitate, to a greater or lesser extent, the movements of species and ecological flows between habitat tesserae. Connectivity makes genetic variability among different populations possible, as well as increasing the capacity to recover from any type of disturbance, it will also enhance the guarantees of survival of populations against possible local extinctions. Ecological connectivity is currently affected and reduced by several processes, basically anthropogenic alterations such as changes in land use (agriculture, urbanization, construction of road infrastructures, etc.). This type of alteration in the territory reduces the continuous surface of vegetation, and increases the isolated areas, and, therefore, disconnections. This is known as habitat fragmentation. Such isolated zones that arise due to fragmentation can be like each other or have very different characteristics because of their new sizes, shapes, boundaries, etc. For this reason, the existence of connectivity between the different natural spaces is important. Ecological connectivity requires continuity and coherence of the landscape; in this sense, ecological corridors acquire high importance, since they act as connectors of significant regions for the conservation of biodiversity that decreases the negative effects derived from habitat fragmentation. Corridors work by linking two or more areas with similar environmental characteristics. In this way, they secure the conservation of ecological diversity and biological evolutionary processes through the migration and dispersal of species. In addition, the intensity of ecological flows is greater than in the rest of the territory.

There is a need to conserve and restore protected natural spaces by improving the connectivity of the territory, given that it is a fundamental element for the survival of species. This Special Issue will contribute to an integrated understanding of the importance of connectivity analysis in a holistic way that maximizes the full potential of its procedures as a tool for conservation.

Dr. Javier Velázquez Saornil
Dr. Ana Hernando
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Conservation is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • connectivity
  • patches
  • nodes
  • bridges
  • core areas
  • structural connectivity
  • functional connectivity

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

23 pages, 50356 KiB  
Article
Delineating Functional Corridors Linking Leopard Habitat in the Eastern and Western Cape, South Africa
Conservation 2022, 2(1), 99-121; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2010009 - 23 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3544
Abstract
Natural landscapes are increasingly fragmented due to human activity. This contributes to isolation and inadequate gene flow among wildlife populations. These threats intensify where populations are already low, and gene flow is compromised. Ensuring habitat connectivity despite transformed landscapes can mitigate these risks. [...] Read more.
Natural landscapes are increasingly fragmented due to human activity. This contributes to isolation and inadequate gene flow among wildlife populations. These threats intensify where populations are already low, and gene flow is compromised. Ensuring habitat connectivity despite transformed landscapes can mitigate these risks. Leopards are associated with high levels of biodiversity and are the last widely occurring, free-roaming apex predator in South Africa. Although highly adaptable, leopard survival is reduced by human-caused mortality and habitat destruction. We aimed to assess the connectivity of leopard habitat in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, South Africa. We predicted leopard habitat by correlating GPS data from 31 leopards to environmental features that included human-associated and natural landscapes. We used circuit theory to delineate corridors linking known leopard populations. Finally, using camera traps, we tested whether five predicted corridors were used by leopards. Leopard habitat was strongly correlated to moderate slopes and areas of natural land-cover and plantations, highlighting mountainous areas as important habitat with high connectivity probability. While most habitat patches showed some level of connectivity, leopards avoided highly transformed landscapes, potentially isolating some populations. Where corridors are not functional, active conservation measures for species connectivity becomes important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Connectivity Analysis and Management)
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