Thursday, August 5, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
401-402, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Landscape connectivity is a rapidly emerging area of research and environmental management that aims to understand large-scale spatial and temporal connections among habitats and natural resources. Tools for evaluating and managing landscape connectivity have rapidly evolved over the past few decades. Such tools include increases in computer power and in the diversity and usability of statistical tools, gains in accessible satellite imagery and high-resolution remote sensing data, and increasing recognition of the need for, and implementation of, long-term baseline monitoring of spatial and temporal characteristics of natural resources. At the same time, there is an increased urgency for the application of these tools to an enormous array of conservation and restoration challenges facing ecologists and natural resource managers. Effects of climate change on natural resources, conservation of rare and sensitive species, human-wildlife resource conflict, and intensive management of landscapes for multiple human and non-human uses are among the many issues which benefit from, and in many cases cannot be managed without, an understanding of landscape connectivity.
This session will bring together a diverse group of researchers and practitioners who are evaluating and managing landscape connectivity to achieve conservation, restoration, and stewardship objectives for humans, wildlife and their habitats. Speakers include academic faculty and students, government agency staff, and private sector professionals. Multiple speakers will address the question of what aspects of the ecological landscape should form the basis of landscape connectivity analysis to maximize opportunities for conservation. Several case studies will be presented that address a range of conservation and resource management issues across a diversity of habitats, including agricultural and forested landscapes in Africa, a mid-atlantic estuary in the U.S., and one of the most important recreational trail systems in New England. Despite their diversity of locations and research questions, these case studies all have in common the implementation of large-scale tools and approaches for understanding the connectivity of natural resources and using that understanding as the basis for sound decisionmaking for management and stewardship at an ecoregional level.