Jump to Main Content
Geodesigning landscape linkages: Coupling GIS with wildlife corridor design in conservation planning
- Perkl, Ryan M.
- Landscape and urban planning 2016 v.156 pp. 44-58
- biological corridors, edge effects, geographic information systems, hybrids, landscape management, landscapes, models, planning, planting, spatial variation, vegetation, wildlife
- Conservation planners continue to face challenges in quantifying and ameliorating the negative ecological effects of landscape fragmentation on species populations. While significant methodological and technological advancements have led to more analytically robust assessments of landscape connectivity, the end result of these efforts is often the demarcation of corridor areas void of any significant detailed physical design of their interiors. To address this shortcoming, this work proposes the creation of a hybrid geodesign and connectivity conservation framework and the development of a new tool, or Automated Design Model (ADM), for use in wildlife corridor design. The ADM's primary purpose is to generate detailed vegetation planting designs that may be applied to the interiors of previously modeled corridors. When coupled with existing methods for delineating the spatial extents of biologically best corridors, ADM derived vegetation designs may prove useful in mitigating negative edge effects and enhancing species movement, thus potentially improving the corridors connectivity function. Using a series of geospatial models and rule-based pattern generators, the ADM derived designs are highly customizable to locally specific landscape conditions, varied focal species requirements, and differences spatial structures known to facilitate wildlife movement.Moreover, the automated nature of the ADM allows for detailed design at the landscape-scale, has broad applicability in connectivity conservation and landscape restoration, and may help in filing data gaps necessary for moving towards planning and design implementation. Towards this end, this work proposes a basis for developing a common understanding of what constitutes geodesign, proposes the development of a hybrid geodesign/conservation planning framework, and discusses the development of the ADM as a mechanism for improving the functional design of wildlife corridors.