Talk Facing the ongoing landscape fragmentation – designing the ecological network to protect habitat connectivity

Central and Eastern Europe are facing the ongoing process of landscape fragmentation caused by construction of new highways and roads. To enhance protection of landscape permeability and connectivity of habitats suitable for dispersing or migrating animals, ecological networks are the most effective tool. In case of the Czech Republic so called Terrestrial System of Ecological Stability has been established, however, this network doesn’t fulfill the aims of complex landscape permeability protection. Therefore new network of wildlife corridors has been proposed, based on habitat suitability approach. Lynx, wolf and bear were selected as umbrella species, for which habitat suitability maps were prepared using MAXENT approach. Output of habitat suitability model was verified by VHF telemetry data from several field studies and resistance surfaces were designed using CIRCUITSCAPE approach. According to spatial and habitat requirements, core areas of potential occurrence as well as stepping stones were delineated. Finally, proposal of coherent ecological network was carried out using Linkage Mapper, compared with formerly defined networks and extensively verified in field.

landscape fragmentation, wildlife corridors, connectivity modeling