1 Tahrcountry Musings: Connectivity, patch based graphs, and conservation

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Connectivity, patch based graphs, and conservation

Patch-based graphs of landscape connectivity: A guide to construction, analysis and application for conservation
Paul Galpern Micheline Manseau and Andrew Fall

Biological Conservation
Volume 144, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 44-55

Here is a good paper that deals with connectivity and the use of patch based graphs.

Connectivity is a major conservation priority. Maintaining connectivity and mitigating the fragmentation of habitat is critical for landscape processes. For modelling the functional connectivity of landscapes, Graph theory (also known as network analysis), has become sine qua non for many researchers and managers.  The authors of this paper say they conducted a review of studies that use graph theory to model connectivity among patches of habitat (patch-based graphs), with the intention of identifying typical research questions and their associated graph construction and analysis methods.
The researchers identified and examined nine questions of conservation importance that can be answered with these types of graph models. They discussed appropriate applications of these questions and presented a guide for using graph methods to answer them. They also examined how the connectivity predictions of patch-based graphs have been assessed and emphasize the importance of empirical evaluation.

The researchers sign off like this “. Our findings identify commonality among diverse approaches and methodological gaps with an aim to improve application and to help the integration of graph theory and ecological analysis.”  “As a final caveat, we urge those using patch-based graphs in a decision-making process to assess the relative importance of conserving connectivity compared to, for example, conservation decisions based only on the amount and quality of habitat. This remains an important area for further theoretical and empirical consideration”

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