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How nonrandom habitat loss affects nature reserve planning strategies

Liu, Haoqi, Li, Weide, Lv, Guanghui
Ecological modelling 2019 v.397 pp. 39-46
conservation areas, extinction, habitat destruction, habitats, planning, protected species
The SLOSS (single large or several small reserves) debate is central to species conservation, and habitat loss is the primary cause of species extinction. As a result, habitat loss is crucial for exploring the debate. This study investigates the effect of nonrandom habitat loss and its interactions with individual migration and disturbance. The results suggest that (1) if the spatial distribution of lost habitats is dispersed, a few large reserves are optimal for the protected species; and if it is clustered, many small reserves are optimal. (2) The effects of the spatial distribution of lost habitats on the debate depends on individual migration, and if there are more individuals migrating among reserves, the spatial distribution of lost habitats has greater impacts. (3) If disturbance rate is low, many small reserves are optimal; and increasing disturbance rate tends to favor the implementation of few large reserves. And the spatial distribution of lost habitats exhibits a threshold above which the response of the optimal reserve number to disturbance rate is amplified. This study facilitates improving the nature reserve planning strategies.