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Connectivity change in habitat networks

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Habitat management is essential for safeguarding important flora and fauna. Further, habitat connectivity is a crucial component for maintaining biodiversity given that it is known to have implications for species persistence. However, damage to habitat due to natural and human induced hazards can alter spatial relationships between habitats, potentially impacting biodiversity. Therefore, the susceptibility of spatial relationships to patch loss and associated connectivity degradation is obviously an important factor in maintaining existing or planned habitat networks. Identifying patches vital to connectivity is critical both for effectively prioritizing protection (e.g., enhancing habitat connectivity) and establishing disaster mitigation measures (e.g., stemming the spread of habitat loss). This paper presents a methodology for characterizing connectivity associated with habitat networks. Methods for evaluating habitat network connectivity change are formalized. Examples are presented to facilitate analysis of connectivity in the management of biodiversity.

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  1. This non-linear treatment of distance is often attributed to Harary (1969), but has long been used in studies examining spatial interaction (see Zipf 1946).

  2. See Hanski and Ovaskainen (2003), Ovaskainen (2004), McRae (2006), and North and Ovaskainen (2007) for other factors potentially impacting the form of f(G,i,j).

  3. The Harary Index: \(1/2\sum\limits_{i}\sum\limits_{j \ne i}1/{d_{ij}} \ \hbox{where } d_{ij} = \left\{\begin{gathered}{l}{\hbox{shortest path cost, if an }}i , j{\hbox{ path(s) is available}} \\ \hfill \\\infty, {\hbox{ otherwise}} \\ \end{gathered} \right.\).


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Correspondence to Timothy C. Matisziw.

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Matisziw, T.C., Murray, A.T. Connectivity change in habitat networks. Landscape Ecol 24, 89–100 (2009).

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