On the need to consider within-patch connectivity in the measurement and monitoring of landscape connectivity

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jeudi 19 déc. 11:50 AM (15 minutes)
Salle AB
Many metrics of landscape connectivity only include between-patch connectivity, i.e., the connectivity between habitat patches, which can produce misleading results. Our work demonstrates that the inclusion of within-patch connectivity is necessary for accurate results. We compare behavior of two metrics: the connectance index (CONNECT), which measures only between-patch connectivity, and the effective mesh size (meff), which includes both within-patch and between-patch connectivity. The connectivity values of both metrics were calculated on a set of simulated landscapes. Twenty cities were then added to these landscapes to calculate the resulting changes in connectivity. We found that counter-intuitive results occurred when using CONNECT due to not including within-patch connectivity, such as scenarios where connectivity increased with increasing habitat loss and fragmentation. These counter-intuitive results were resolved when using meff. For example, landscapes with low habitat amount may be particularly sensitive to urban development, but this is not reflected by CONNECT. Applying misleading results from metrics like CONNECT can have detrimental effects on natural ecosystems, because reductions in within-patch connectivity by human activities are neglected. Our results provide evidence for the crucial need to consider the balance between within-patch connectivity and between-patch connectivity when measuring and monitoring the connectivity of landscapes and evaluating the effects of land-use changes and potential mitigation measures.

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