Declining fortunes of Yellowstone’s migratory elk
Jun26

Declining fortunes of Yellowstone’s migratory elk

Are human choices redefining the fitness of an ancient survival strategy?

Eighteen ecologists weigh in on new data in a Forum in Ecology.

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ConservationCorridor.org collects all things wildlife corridor-related
Dec20

ConservationCorridor.org collects all things wildlife corridor-related

A guest post by Heather Lessig, a ConservationCorridor moderator and research technician in Nick Haddad’s lab at NC State LANDSCAPE corridors are among the most important conservation strategies in the face of global changes such as habitat fragmentation, habitat destruction, and climate change.  Corridors are habitats that are typically long relative to their width, and they connect fragmented patches of habitat.  The main goal of corridors is to facilitate movement of individuals, through both dispersal and migration, so that genes can continuously be exchanged between different individuals and genetic diversity is maintained overall. This is critical for the survival of species, especially as habitat fragmentation results in isolated animals or plants disconnected from the rest of the population.  Corridors are able to provide a literal pathway, connecting these isolated individuals to the main group by making it easy for individuals to walk (or run or fly or glide or hop or blow in the wind) to other populated areas.  By linking populations throughout the landscape instead of leaving behind islands of good habitat in a sea of bad habitat, there is a lower chance for extinction and greater support for species richness. There are many examples of corridors. Corridors can exist naturally, such as streams and stream banks linking isolated wetlands. The endangered St. Francis’ satyr butterfly, on Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, uses stream corridors to fly between ephemeral wetlands created by abandoned beaver ponds.  Corridors can also be constructed through management practices, such as efforts to link national parks in Turkey and protect species such as the Caucasian lynx, brown bear, and Anatolian leopard.  They can be artificially constructed, such as overpasses or underpasses on highways, for the sole purpose of funneling animals or plants away from anthropogenic threat.  Banff National Park in Canada has been a leader in constructing corridors around highways, and has seen them used by numerous large mammals including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, elk and deer.  Corridors can be large, as is typical in large mountain ranges, or small, as is typical in urban landscapes. While recent years have seen a growth of scientific research on corridors, there is still a gap between what ecologists know about the science of corridors and its practical application in conservation management.  In an effort to bridge this gap, we have developed a new website, ConservationCorridor.org.  This website it based out of North Carolina State University, and is hosted by a team of scientists there with extensive experience in corridor planning and research.  Much of the content of the site is contributed by others outside of North Carolina State University, including managers, researchers, and students who all...

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