For success in connectivity conservation planning, which factors should you consider?

All connectivity conservation plans used in the publication featured in this post can be found on in our Connectivity Plans Library.

Human land uses cause the fragmentation of landscapes, leaving natural areas isolated from each other and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Conservation actions that maintain and restore connectivity counteract landscape fragmentation and enhance nature’s resilience to climate change.  Successful connectivity conservation begins with one of the most important steps: planning.

Minimum cumulative number of 263 connectivity conservation plans (CCPs) published between 1990 and 2018. Modified from Keeley et al. 2019.

A recent study presents the first systematic global assessment of connectivity planning used by a diversity of organizations and agencies, from plan inception to on-the-ground action. While the science of corridors and connected conservation areas began in the early 1960s, the implementation of that science didn’t emerge until the 1990s. Since the year 2002, connectivity conservation planning has grown exponentially around the world, especially in North America, Europe, and Africa.

Using 263 terrestrial connectivity conservation plans that cover six continents, the research determined which factors lead to successful conservation implementation such as crossing structures, ecological restoration, land purchases or easements, recognition of corridors through zoning or government designation, and public engagement.

What did this global assessment find? First, a combination of inspiring and tangible goals are essential in bringing diverse communities from government to private land owners together to achieve results on the ground. Second, supportive government policies and laws are needed to facilitate implementation and encourage necessary funding. As these efforts can take more than a decade from start to implementation, leadership continuity is crucial and is often provided by non-governmental organizations that support implementing government agencies.  A key point to remember is that all successful plans are constructed on a foundation of transparent and reproducible science.


Connectivity Conservation Plans Library

Keeley, A.T.H., Beier, P., Creech, T., Jones, K., Jongman, R., Stonecipher, G. and Tabor, G.M. 2019. Thirty years of connectivity conservation planning: an assessment of factors influencing plan implementation. Environmental Research Letters 14: 103001.

2019-10-24T10:02:58-04:00 October 24th, 2019|

About the Author:

Annika Keeley
Annika Keeley is a wildlife ecologist with experience in animal behavior, wildlife biology and management, landscape planning, and science education. She earned her Ph.D. in the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. Her dissertation focused on comparing estimates of landscape resistance to animal movement. Previously she worked with temperate and tropical bats, ground squirrels in Canada, corn crakes in Poland, and amphibians in Germany.