Purpose of Review
We examined recent literature on promoting habitat connectivity in the context of climate change (CC) and land-use change (LUC). These two global change forcings have wide-reaching ecological effects that are projected to worsen in the future. Improving connectivity is a common adaptation strategy, but CC and LUC can also degrade planned connections, potentially reducing their effectiveness. We synthesize advances in connectivity design approaches, identify challenges confronted by researchers and practitioners, and offer suggestions for future research.
Recent studies incorporated future CC into connectivity design more often than LUC and rarely considered the two drivers jointly. When considering CC, most studies have focused on relatively broad spatial and temporal extents and have included either species-based targets or coarse-filter targets like geodiversity and climate gradients. High levels of uncertainty about future LUC and lack of consistent, readily available model simulations are likely hindering its inclusion in connectivity modeling. This high degree of uncertainty extends to efforts to jointly consider future CC and LUC.
We argue that successful promotion of connectivity as a means to adapt to CC and LUC will depend on (1) the velocity of CC, (2) the velocity of LUC, and (3) the degree of existing landscape fragmentation. We present a new conceptual framework to assist in identifying connectivity networks given these three factors. Given the high uncertainty associated with future CC and LUC, incorporating insights from decision science into connectivity planning will facilitate the development of more robust adaptation strategies.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Landscape connectivity planning for adaptation to future climate and land-use change|
|Series title||Current Landscape Ecology Reports|
|Contributing office(s)||Southeast Climate Science Center|