What is habitat connectivity and why is it important for conservation?
Habitat connectivity is the degree to which separate patches of habitat are connected. It is important because this connectivity enables gene exchange and other crucial exchanges.
Habitat connectivity is the degree to which separate patches of habitat are connected. Greater habitat connectivity means animals are able to travel between these patches.
It is important because this connectivity enables gene exchange and other crucial exchanges.
Corridors can be used to connect patches of habitat, increasing connectivity. In the image below, the habitat on the left has less connectivity than the habitat on the right, which has corridors connecting different patches. These corridors facilitate animal migration and movement.
Connecting patches of habitat allows facilitates crucial ecological processes such as seed dispersal and gene flow between populations.
For example, if you have a plant species that relies on monkeys to distribute seeds to new areas, and the monkey species is unable to navigate the habitat to the left, it will not be able to disperse seeds. The plant species relying on the monkey will have fewer opportunities to disperse and may have one population of plants rather than five populations.
This one plant population could be entirely wiped out due to a storm, whereas corridors allowing the plant to disperse to all five patches could mean that populations in other patches survive the storm.