, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 363-379

Spatial aspects of metapopulation survival – from model results to rules of thumb for landscape management

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The role of spatial configuration for metapopulation survival is analyzed by using a stochastic metapopulation model. This model reveals conditions which must be satisfied by the species' ecology and the landscape settings before a metapopulation can persist over a long term. Taking this as a basis, initial rules of thumb for landscape management are deduced. The following results are highlighted: (1) the critical correlation length dc of the extinction processes determines a spatial scale of the metapopulation dynamics. (2) Only species with a dispersal range dr above the correlation length dc are able to benefit from landscape management at all. (3) A certain metapopulation can only persist over a long term if no patch is inside the range of correlation of another one. (4) There is a hierarchy of importance in the characteristics of a spatial configuration (scale and type) and, hence, in the scopes of landscape management. To conclude, some general consequences for supporting species survival by management are discussed. Some prospects concerning the use of models for decision support in landscape planning are discussed.