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A flexible approach for assessing functional landscape connectivity, with application to greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

A flexible approach for assessing functional landscape connectivity, with application to greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)

Plos one 8(12): E82271

Connectivity of animal populations is an increasingly prominent concern in fragmented landscapes, yet existing methodological and conceptual approaches implicitly assume the presence of, or need for, discrete corridors. We tested this assumption by developing a flexible conceptual approach that does not assume, but allows for, the presence of discrete movement corridors. We quantified functional connectivity habitat for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) across a large landscape in central western North America. We assigned sample locations to a movement state (encamped, traveling and relocating), and used Global Positioning System (GPS) location data and conditional logistic regression to estimate state-specific resource selection functions. Patterns of resource selection during different movement states reflected selection for sagebrush and general avoidance of rough topography and anthropogenic features. Distinct connectivity corridors were not common in the 5,625 km(2) study area. Rather, broad areas functioned as generally high or low quality connectivity habitat. A comprehensive map predicting the quality of connectivity habitat across the study area validated well based on a set of GPS locations from independent greater sage-grouse. The functional relationship between greater sage-grouse and the landscape did not always conform to the idea of a discrete corridor. A more flexible consideration of landscape connectivity may improve the efficacy of management actions by aligning those actions with the spatial patterns by which animals interact with the landscape.

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Accession: 051134507

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24349241

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082271

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