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DISSECTING HABITAT CONNECTIVITY
SCHUMAKER, N. H. AND M. NIPHADKAR. DISSECTING HABITAT CONNECTIVITY. Presented at Soc. for Conservation Bio., Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA, June 24 - 27, 2006.
Connectivity is increasingly recognized as an important element of a successful reserve design. Connectivity matters in reserve design to the extent that it promotes or hinders the viability of target populations. While conceptually straightforward, connectivity is difficult to quantify. Because it is only one of many determinants of population viability, the consequences for wildlife of altering connectivity are hard to predict. We describe our application of a simulation model that links individual movements and occupancy rates to local and regional population dynamics. We then illustrate how connectivity indirectly alters population viability by controlling occupancy rates across a landscape, and by helping to determine the characteristics of the occupants. This study adds to our understanding of the mechanisms through which connectivity influences the success or failure of conservation efforts.