Special Issue "Dynamic Landscape Connectivity"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Rebecca Lewison
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, USA
Interests: fisheries bycatch; sustainable resource use; coupled human-natural systems; applied conservation; landscape connectivity
Dr. Megan Jennings
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Ecological Monitoring and Management, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, USA
Interests: wildlife ecology; connectivity modeling and assessments; conservation planning; decision support; spatial data analysis
Dr. Katherine Zeller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, 790 E Beckwith Ave, Missoula, 59812 MT, USA
Interests: wildlife connectivity; movement ecology; conservation network design; spatial ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Habitat fragmentation and degradation are two of the greatest threats to habitat availability and quality, posing a direct risk to species persistence and, consequently, biodiversity. Establishing or preserving landscape connectivity alleviates the negative effects of fragmentation and allows for movement and gene flow among populations, increasing the likelihood of population persistence in altered environments. Further, connectivity can support the recovery of populations after events such as fire and disease outbreaks, and facilitate the movement of species in response to climate change. Traditionally, terrestrial connectivity assessments and planning efforts have assumed a static environment. In recent years, research has focused on capturing the inherent dynamic nature of landscapes and species movement for connectivity planning. The Special Issue “Dynamic Connectivity” of Land will explore the advances that have been made in connectivity evaluation and assessment, planning, and implementation that incorporate spatial and temporal landscape dynamics that affect structural and functional connectivity. These dynamic features can be driven by seasonal or annual fluctuations, extreme events, climate change, as well as human impacts like land or resource use, urbanization or other anthropogenic factors.

In this Special Issue, we invite papers focusing on, but not limited to, actionable approaches to understand, assess, and implement landscape connectivity in dynamic systems. Submissions may include:

  • Case studies of dynamic connectivity analyses or implementation;
  • Approaches to address specific challenges in dynamic systems;
  • Overviews of best practices and lessons learned for researchers and practitioners;
  • Explorations of the role of social networks and collaborative efforts in successful dynamic connectivity planning and implementation;
  • Approaches for stakeholder engagement, plan delivery, decision-making strategies, and implementation actions.

Prof. Dr. Rebecca Lewison
Dr. Megan Jennings
Dr. Katherine Zeller
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 papers will be 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. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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
  • dynamic
  • conservation planning
  • climate change
  • land-use change
  • migration
  • spatiotemporal variability
  • corridors

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Open AccessCommunication
Circuitscape in Julia: Empowering Dynamic Approaches to Connectivity Assessment
Land 2021, 10(3), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10030301 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 821
Abstract
The conservation field is experiencing a rapid increase in the amount, variety, and quality of spatial data that can help us understand species movement and landscape connectivity patterns. As interest grows in more dynamic representations of movement potential, modelers are often limited by [...] Read more.
The conservation field is experiencing a rapid increase in the amount, variety, and quality of spatial data that can help us understand species movement and landscape connectivity patterns. As interest grows in more dynamic representations of movement potential, modelers are often limited by the capacity of their analytic tools to handle these datasets. Technology developments in software and high-performance computing are rapidly emerging in many fields, but uptake within conservation may lag, as our tools or our choice of computing language can constrain our ability to keep pace. We recently updated Circuitscape, a widely used connectivity analysis tool developed by Brad McRae and Viral Shah, by implementing it in Julia, a high-performance computing language. In this initial re-code (Circuitscape 5.0) and later updates, we improved computational efficiency and parallelism, achieving major speed improvements, and enabling assessments across larger extents or with higher resolution data. Here, we reflect on the benefits to conservation of strengthening collaborations with computer scientists, and extract examples from a collection of 572 Circuitscape applications to illustrate how through a decade of repeated investment in the software, applications have been many, varied, and increasingly dynamic. Beyond empowering continued innovations in dynamic connectivity, we expect that faster run times will play an important role in facilitating co-production of connectivity assessments with stakeholders, increasing the likelihood that connectivity science will be incorporated in land use decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessCommunication
Social-Ecological Connectivity to Understand Ecosystem Service Provision across Networks in Urban Landscapes
Land 2020, 9(12), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9120530 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 565
Abstract
Landscape connectivity is a critical component of dynamic processes that link the structure and function of networks at the landscape scale. In the Anthropocene, connectivity across a landscape-scale network is influenced not only by biophysical land use features, but also by characteristics and [...] Read more.
Landscape connectivity is a critical component of dynamic processes that link the structure and function of networks at the landscape scale. In the Anthropocene, connectivity across a landscape-scale network is influenced not only by biophysical land use features, but also by characteristics and patterns of the social landscape. This is particularly apparent in urban landscapes, which are highly dynamic in land use and often in social composition. Thus, landscape connectivity, especially in cities, must be thought of in a social-ecological framework. This is relevant when considering ecosystem services—the benefits that people derive from ecological processes and properties. As relevant actors move through a connected landscape-scale network, particular services may “flow” better across space and time. For this special issue on dynamic landscape connectivity, we discuss the concept of social-ecological networks using urban landscapes as a focal system to highlight the importance of social-ecological connectivity to understand dynamic urban landscapes, particularly in regards to the provision of urban ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessArticle
How Important Are Resistance, Dispersal Ability, Population Density and Mortality in Temporally Dynamic Simulations of Population Connectivity? A Case Study of Tigers in Southeast Asia
Land 2020, 9(11), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110415 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Development of landscape connectivity and spatial population models is challenging, given the uncertainty of parameters and the sensitivity of models to factors and their interactions over time. Using spatially and temporally explicit simulations, we evaluate the sensitivity of population distribution, abundance and connectivity [...] Read more.
Development of landscape connectivity and spatial population models is challenging, given the uncertainty of parameters and the sensitivity of models to factors and their interactions over time. Using spatially and temporally explicit simulations, we evaluate the sensitivity of population distribution, abundance and connectivity of tigers in Southeast Asia to variations of resistance surface, dispersal ability, population density and mortality. Utilizing a temporally dynamic cumulative resistant kernel approach, we tested (1) effects and interactions of parameters on predicted population size, distribution and connectivity, and (2) displacement and divergence in scenarios across timesteps. We evaluated the effect of varying levels of factors on simulated population, cumulative resistance kernel extent, and kernel sum across nine timesteps, producing 24,300 simulations. We demonstrate that predicted population, range shifts, and landscape connectivity are highly sensitive to parameter values with significant interactions and relative strength of effects varying by timestep. Dispersal ability, mortality risk and their interaction dominated predictions. Further, population density had intermediate effects, landscape resistance had relatively low impacts, and mitigation of linear barriers (highways) via lowered resistance had little relative effect. Results are relevant to regional, long-term tiger population management, providing insight into potential population growth and range expansion across a landscape of global conservation priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate-Wise Habitat Connectivity Takes Sustained Stakeholder Engagement
Land 2020, 9(11), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110413 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
Well-managed and connected protected area networks are needed to combat the 6th mass extinction, yet the implementation of plans intended to secure landscape connectivity remains insufficient. The failure to translate planning efforts into effective action (i.e., the research-implementation gap) hinders our ability to [...] Read more.
Well-managed and connected protected area networks are needed to combat the 6th mass extinction, yet the implementation of plans intended to secure landscape connectivity remains insufficient. The failure to translate planning efforts into effective action (i.e., the research-implementation gap) hinders our ability to conserve biodiversity threatened by ongoing climate change and habitat fragmentation. Sustained collaboration between researchers and practitioners to co-produce conservation strategies can bridge this gap by providing end-users with implementation guidance based on legitimate, relevant, and trusted information. However, few case studies capture methods for the co-production and use of climate-wise connectivity knowledge. Here we describe the framework for sustained engagement used by a multi-jurisdictional practitioner network to co-produce climate-wise linkages for the interior coastal ranges in Northern California. We found iterative co-production shaped ecological objectives, input data, analytical methods, and implementation priorities. Stakeholders used both co-produced and local socio-ecological (e.g., development threat, management priorities) knowledge to finalize corridor implementation plans. Priority corridors afforded greater climate benefit and were more likely to connect lands managed by participant organizations. Our results demonstrate how collaborative partnerships can bridge the gap between connectivity research and implementation. Lessons learned, outcomes, and future plans provide insights to advance landscape-scale resilience to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying Climate-Wise Connectivity across a Topographically Diverse Landscape
Land 2020, 9(10), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100355 - 26 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
Climate-wise connectivity is essential to provide species access to suitable habitats in the future, yet we lack a consistent means of quantifying climate adaptation benefits of habitat linkages. Species range shifts to cooler climates have been widely observed, suggesting we should protect pathways [...] Read more.
Climate-wise connectivity is essential to provide species access to suitable habitats in the future, yet we lack a consistent means of quantifying climate adaptation benefits of habitat linkages. Species range shifts to cooler climates have been widely observed, suggesting we should protect pathways providing access to cooler locations. However, in topographically diverse regions, the effects of elevation, seasonality, and proximity to large water bodies are complex drivers of biologically relevant temperature gradients. Here, we identify potential terrestrial and riparian linkages and their cooling benefit using mid-century summer and winter temperature extremes for interior coastal ranges in Northern California. It is rare for the same area to possess both terrestrial and riparian connectivity value. Our analysis reveals distinct differences in the magnitude and orientation of cooling benefits between the summer maximum and winter minimum temperatures provided by the linkages we delineated for the area. The cooling benefits for both linkage types were maximized to the west during summer, but upslope and to the northeast during winter. The approach we employ here provides an improved method to prioritize climate-wise connectivity and promote landscape resilience for topographically diverse regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Planning for Dynamic Connectivity: Operationalizing Robust Decision-Making and Prioritization Across Landscapes Experiencing Climate and Land-Use Change
Land 2020, 9(10), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100341 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 691
Abstract
Preserving landscape connectivity is one of the most frequently recommended strategies to address the synergistic threats of climate change, habitat fragmentation, and intensifying disturbances. Although assessments to develop plans for linked and connected landscapes in response to climate and land-use change have been [...] Read more.
Preserving landscape connectivity is one of the most frequently recommended strategies to address the synergistic threats of climate change, habitat fragmentation, and intensifying disturbances. Although assessments to develop plans for linked and connected landscapes in response to climate and land-use change have been increasingly employed in the last decade, efforts to operationalize and implement these plans have been limited. Here, we present a framework using existing, available biological data to design an implementable, comprehensive multispecies connectivity plan. This framework uses a scenario-based approach to consider how ecosystems, habitats, and species may need to adapt to future conditions with an ensemble of connectivity models. We use the south coast ecoregion of California as an example to evaluate and prioritize linkages by combining linked metapopulation models and key landscape features (e.g., conservation planning status and implementation feasibility) to identify and prioritize a multispecies linkage network. Our analyses identified approximately 30,000 km2 of land, roughly one-fifth of our study area, where actions to preserve or enhance connectivity may support climate adaptation, nearly half of which is already conserved. By developing and implementing a dynamic connectivity assessment with an eye towards projected changes, our analysis demonstrates how dynamic connectivity can be integrated into feasible regional conservation and management plans that account for demographic as well as landscape change. We observed overlap across multiple models, reinforcing the importance of areas that appeared across methods. We also identified unique areas important for connectivity captured by our complementary models. By integrating multiple approaches, the resultant linkage network is robust, building on the strengths of a variety of methods to identify model consensus and reduce uncertainty. By linking quantitative connectivity metrics with prioritized areas for conservation, our approach supports transparent and robust decision-making for landscape planning, despite uncertainties of climate and land-use change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Supporting Adaptive Connectivity in Dynamic Landscapes
Land 2020, 9(9), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090295 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 964
Abstract
A central tenet of landscape conservation planning is that natural communities can be supported by a connected landscape network that supports many species and habitat types. However, as the planning environment, ecological conditions, and risks and stressors change over time, the areas needed [...] Read more.
A central tenet of landscape conservation planning is that natural communities can be supported by a connected landscape network that supports many species and habitat types. However, as the planning environment, ecological conditions, and risks and stressors change over time, the areas needed to support landscape connectivity may also shift. We demonstrate an approach designed to assess functional and structural connectivity of an established protected area network that has experienced landscape and planning changes over time. Here we present an approach designed to inform adaptive planning for connectivity with a complementary suite of analytical techniques. Using existing occurrence, movement, and genetic data for six focal species, we create a spatially explicit connectivity assessment based on landscape resistance, paired with a landscape feature geodiversity analysis. Although factors such as cost, conservation goals, and land management strategies must be taken into account, this approach provides a template for leveraging available empirical data and robust analyses to evaluate and adapt planning for protected area networks that can preserve and promote both functional and structural connectivity in dynamic landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Landscape Connectivity and Ecological Network Construction in Long Yangxia Basin at the Upper Yellow River
Land 2020, 9(8), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080265 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 823
Abstract
Analyzing multi-scale changes in landscape connectivity is an important way to study landscape ecological processes and also an important method to maintain regional biodiversity. In this study, graph-based connectivity was used to analyze the dynamics of the connectivity of natural habitats in the [...] Read more.
Analyzing multi-scale changes in landscape connectivity is an important way to study landscape ecological processes and also an important method to maintain regional biodiversity. In this study, graph-based connectivity was used to analyze the dynamics of the connectivity of natural habitats in the Long Yangxia basin of upper Yellow River valley from 1995 to 2015. We used the core areas of the nature reserves as the source regions to construct ecological networks under different thresholds, so as to identify key areas that can maintain overall landscape connectivity. The results showed that, from 1995 to 2015, the landscape connectivity in the study area increased for the first 10 years, and, since 2005, has declined. On a spatial scale, we found that both the connectivity of the ecological network and the length of the corridor increased with landscape resistance. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of the natural habitat in the southern part of the study area where connectivity was higher, as well as the sensitivity of connectivity of the northern area to human activities. Both large and medium patches contribute greatly to the overall landscape connectivity, while attention needs to be paid to the protection and management of small patches as they played “stepping stone” roles in maintaining and improving landscape connectivity. The proportions of landscape types that served as corridors, listed in order of their contribution to connectivity, were grassland, forestland, wetland and cultivated land. This suggests that, in addition to focusing on the protection of grassland and forest land, the reasonable planning and utilization of wetland and cultivated land will also have an impact on landscape connectivity. In addition, the protection of and improvement in habitats in the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve is of great significance to enhance landscape connectivity. Our study provides a scientific basis to support and improve regional landscape connectivity and biodiversity conservation over the next decade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Forecasting Seasonal Habitat Connectivity in a Developing Landscape
Land 2020, 9(7), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070233 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 865
Abstract
Connectivity and wildlife corridors are often key components to successful conservation and management plans. Connectivity for wildlife is typically modeled in a static environment that reflects a single snapshot in time. However, it has been shown that, when compared with dynamic connectivity models, [...] Read more.
Connectivity and wildlife corridors are often key components to successful conservation and management plans. Connectivity for wildlife is typically modeled in a static environment that reflects a single snapshot in time. However, it has been shown that, when compared with dynamic connectivity models, static models can underestimate connectivity and mask important population processes. Therefore, including dynamism in connectivity models is important if the goal is to predict functional connectivity. We incorporated four levels of dynamism (individual, daily, seasonal, and interannual) into an individual-based movement model for black bears (Ursus americanus) in Massachusetts, USA. We used future development projections to model movement into the year 2050. We summarized habitat connectivity over the 32-year simulation period as the number of simulated movement paths crossing each pixel in our study area. Our results predict black bears will further colonize the expanding part of their range in the state and move beyond this range towards the greater Boston metropolitan area. This information is useful to managers for predicting and addressing human–wildlife conflict and in targeting public education campaigns on bear awareness. Including dynamism in connectivity models can produce more realistic models and, when future projections are incorporated, can ensure the identification of areas that offer long-term functional connectivity for wildlife. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoicePerspective
Understanding the Importance of Dynamic Landscape Connectivity
Land 2020, 9(9), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090303 - 29 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
Landscape connectivity is increasingly promoted as a conservation tool to combat the negative effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change. Given its importance as a key conservation strategy, connectivity science is a rapidly growing discipline. However, most landscape connectivity models consider connectivity [...] Read more.
Landscape connectivity is increasingly promoted as a conservation tool to combat the negative effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change. Given its importance as a key conservation strategy, connectivity science is a rapidly growing discipline. However, most landscape connectivity models consider connectivity for only a single snapshot in time, despite the widespread recognition that landscapes and ecological processes are dynamic. In this paper, we discuss the emergence of dynamic connectivity and the importance of including dynamism in connectivity models and assessments. We outline dynamic processes for both structural and functional connectivity at multiple spatiotemporal scales and provide examples of modeling approaches at each of these scales. We highlight the unique challenges that accompany the adoption of dynamic connectivity for conservation management and planning in the context of traditional conservation prioritization approaches. With the increased availability of time series and species movement data, computational capacity, and an expanding number of empirical examples in the literature, incorporating dynamic processes into connectivity models is more feasible than ever. Here, we articulate how dynamism is an intrinsic component of connectivity and integral to the future of connectivity science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamic Landscape Connectivity)
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