Connectivity 101- Corridor Ecology

This article is the 3rd in a series of posts on connectivity. The series will touch on wildlife connectivity projects that will be presented on at the upcoming Joint USGS and Society for Conservation Biology Conference in Flagstaff, AZ in October 2009.

Whether you are seeking resources to guide you through designing wildlife corridors, are looking for pointers on how to implement corridor conservation plans, want to learn more about the when, where, why, what, and hows of achieving and preserving large-scale connectivity, or even if you're scratching your head wondering what "connectivity" is, here's a book for you.

Corridor Ecology, The Science and Practice of Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation- a book I regularly consulted while working on the Arizona Missing Linkages project. Corridor Ecology presents guidelines that combine conservation science and practical experience for creating, maintaining, and enhancing connectivity between natural areas. It offers an objective, carefully interpreted review of the issues.

The book provides guidelines for navigating both the technical and the sociopolitical waters conservation planners encounter today. The authors integrate tips from lessons learned from prior research efforts into their guidelines. For example, they stress the importance of collaboration with local community members, organizations, agencies, and other stakeholders in the area you may be working to conserve before you begin your project. This should be known as Rule number one in Corridor Design. If you hope that your conservation plan will be welcomed, respected, or even implemented one day, you best get partners involved from the get go. If you take the time to find out what their concerns are and make sure your plans help to address those, you'll build the kind of relationships inherent to a successful conservation project.

Corridor Ecology is a one-of-a-kind resource for scientists, landscape architects, planners, land managers, decision-makers, and all those working to protect and restore landscapes and biodiversity. It can serve as a guide to strengthen future connectivity efforts by providing transparent guidelines and incorporating scientific findings about the utility of various types of corridors into future planning.

One of the authors, Dr. Jodi Hilty of the WCS North America program, will speak on connectivity at the upcoming SCB conference in Flagstaff.

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