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Connectivity study in Northwest Spain: barriers, impedances, and corridors

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Connectivity study in Northwest Spain: barriers, impedances, and corridors

Valero Gutiérrez del Olmo, Enrique Maria; Álvarez Bermúdez, Xana; Picos Martín, Juan
 
DATE : 2019-09-19
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER : http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2075
UNESCO SUBJECT : 3308 Ingeniería y Tecnología del Medio Ambiente ; 3106 Ciencia Forestal ; 3106.01 Conservación
DOCUMENT TYPE : article

ABSTRACT :

Functional connectivity between habitats is a fundamental quality for species dispersal and genetic exchange throughout their distribution range. Brown bear populations in Northwest Spain comprise around 200 individuals separated into two sub-populations that are very difficult to connect. We analysed the fragmentation and connectivity for the Ancares-Courel Site of Community Importance (SCI) and its surroundings, including the distribution area for this species within Asturias and in the northwest of Castile and León. The work analysed the territory’s connectivity by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The distance-cost method was used to calculate the least-cost paths with Patch Matrix. The Conefor Sensinode software calculated the Integral Connectivity Index and the Connectivity Probability. Locating the least-cost paths made it possible to define areas of favourable connectivity and to identify critical areas, while the results obtained from the connectivity indices led to the discovery of habitat patches that are fundamental for maintaining connectivity within and ... [+]
Functional connectivity between habitats is a fundamental quality for species dispersal and genetic exchange throughout their distribution range. Brown bear populations in Northwest Spain comprise around 200 individuals separated into two sub-populations that are very difficult to connect. We analysed the fragmentation and connectivity for the Ancares-Courel Site of Community Importance (SCI) and its surroundings, including the distribution area for this species within Asturias and in the northwest of Castile and León. The work analysed the territory’s connectivity by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The distance-cost method was used to calculate the least-cost paths with Patch Matrix. The Conefor Sensinode software calculated the Integral Connectivity Index and the Connectivity Probability. Locating the least-cost paths made it possible to define areas of favourable connectivity and to identify critical areas, while the results obtained from the connectivity indices led to the discovery of habitat patches that are fundamental for maintaining connectivity within and between different spaces. Three routes turned out to be the main ones connecting the northern (Ancares) and southern (Courel) areas of the SCI. Finally, this work shows the importance of conserving natural habitats and the biology, migration, and genetic exchange of sensitive species. [-]

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