Landscape Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 259–274 | Cite as

Assessing source-sink stability in the context of management and land-use change

  • Julie A. HeinrichsEmail author
  • Joshua J. Lawler
  • Nathan H. Schumaker
  • Lauren E. Walker
  • David A. Cimprich
  • Amy Bleisch
Research Article



Management actions and land-use change can disrupt interdependent population processes, re-define population networks, and change source-sink dynamics. Yet we know little about the types of changes that can de-stabilize source-sink dynamics and how such changes could affect management decisions.


We examined the degree to which source-sink status and strength could change under a range of management actions and land-use change scenarios including different patterns and extents of habitat loss, restoration, demographic improvements from parasitism control, and increased frequencies inter-population movement.


We developed an empirically-rich, spatially explicit, individual-based model for the formerly endangered Black-capped vireo in Texas. We simulated the network-wide consequences of different kinds of changes and compared the resulting source-sink strength, status, and regional abundance across scenarios. We gauged source-sink stability by the degree to which system changes caused the reversal of source or sink status.


The stability of source-sink characterizations differed with the type of change. Source-sink dynamics were less responsive to small changes to population structure and changes that minimally affected demographic conditions. Source-sink status was most responsive to changes that affected habitat patterns and quality.


Accurately classifying sources and sinks is challenging, particularly in variable and directionally changing systems. The stability of source-sink classifications depends on the type of management or land-use change. Management actions may need to weigh interventions that improve regional abundance against those that alter regional source-sink dynamics as abundance and source-sink states can be sensitive to different kinds of change.


Black-capped vireo Source-sink dynamics Management Habitat restoration Spatially explicit individual-based model Land-use change 



We thank John Marzluff and Chad Wilsey for input and useful discussions.


Funding was provided by Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) as part of project RC-2120. The content of this manuscript does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the United States government and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10980_2018_768_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (444 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 444 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Forest SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  4. 4.Natural and Cultural Resources Management Branch, Environmental DivisionFort HoodUSA

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