An onion-like movement corridor? Possible guidelines emerging from small-scale movement rules.

Abstract : Ecological corridors are among the most used items in the conservationist's toolbox. However, their efficiency is regularly questioned, highlighting possible discrepancies between ecological processes and conservation goals. While frequently advocated for their benefits for biodiversity as a whole, corridors are generally designed according to a binary representation of landscape that brings mixed benefits.We focused on movement corridors designed for “passage species”, i.e. using a corridor throughout a single lifecycle. Because their functional requirements are different from those of corridor dwellers, we expected that the relationship between ground cover and connectivity may deviate from the common habitat-matrix paradigm.We concentrated on individual movement rules at the core of the corridor functioning, by implementing basic mechanisms from dispersal ecology in an individual-based model. We evaluated the connectivity benefits brought by unconventional corridor designs.Our simulations suggested that movement corridors with an unfavourable ground cover could be more efficient than those with a favourable ground cover. An “onion corridor” composed by several overlaid layers of habitats could help decrease the frequent leaks of dispersers from the core of the corridor. In mosaic corridors composed by several patches of habitats, both compositional and structural heterogeneity decreased connectivity. However, a mosaic of habitats used as a buffer around an onion corridor increased its connectivity. Such designs could be useful in agricultural landscapes, by increasing connectivity while having a low impact on farming practices.
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Thomas Delattre, Jacques Baudry, Françoise Burel. An onion-like movement corridor? Possible guidelines emerging from small-scale movement rules.. Ecological Informatics, Elsevier, 2018, 45, pp.48-58. ⟨10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.03.006⟩. ⟨hal-01828553v2⟩

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