The purpose of this project is to develop an ecologically-based, practical way to index connectivity as one landscape-level indicator of biodiversity. This includes a set of quantitative indices for comparing landscape planning alternatives and assessing progress over time, and maps of connectivity to assist detailed landscape planning and management decisions. The project successfully developed a dispersal-based approach and working algorithm for indexing connectivity, based on the concept of "hypothetical species" (Richards et al. 2002) that capture details necessary to measure connectivity - habitat suitability, dispersal suitability, home range scale and potential dispersal distances - without the specific autecology of innumerable species. We piloted the approach to evaluate four operational planning scenarios for a large landscape unit in south-central BC. A second, complementary approach based on genetic isolation was explored, but was not successfully developed due to programming problems in an algorithm inherited from an industrial partner, which could not be resolved within the limited project budget. The dispersal-based connectivity algorithm provides a credible and feasible way to index landscape-level connectivity at a variety of scales. The results have a meaningful interpretation, unlike some abstract indices, but also have general applicability beyond individual species.
Huggard, David J.. 2006. Ecologically-based connectivity indices for landscape monitoring - year 1: summary and interim technical report. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Biological, diversity, Ecology, Research
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