Forecasting Seasonal Habitat Connectivity in a Developing Landscape

Katherine A. Zeller, David W. Wattles, Javan M. Bauder, Stephen DeStefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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, 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233
Pages (from-to)233
JournalLand
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • INHS
  • Black bear
  • Wildlife
  • Individual-based movement model
  • Ursus americanus
  • Corridor
  • GPS-telemetry
  • IBMM
  • Dynamic connectivity
  • Agent-based model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology

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