Title: Directional Connectivity of Wolf (Canis Lupus) Populations in Northwest Spain and Anthropogenic Effects on Dispersal Patterns
Authors: RODRIGUEZ FREIRE MONICACRECENTE MASEDA Rafael
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL MODELING & ASSESSMENT vol. 13 no. 1 p. 35-51
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC43461
ISSN: 1420-2026
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC43461
DOI: 10.1007/s10666-006-9078-y
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In view of the extensive information available on wolf ecology and habitat suitability, and on the fragmentation of wolf populations by motorways and similar infrastructures, a key factor in their conservation, the aim of the present study was to model the directional connectivity of wolf populations in the region of Galicia in northwest Spain, and to quantify anthropogenic effects on wolf dispersal patterns. To this end we map the probability of wolf movement by means of known relationships between wolf movement and anthropogenic, vegetation and topographic factors. The relative importance of each factor was quantified by sensitivity analyses. Three types of cost surface were constructed: a) isotropic surfaces, b) anisotropic cost surfaces taking into account terrain slope effects in the movement, and c) surfaces obtained by combining the isotropic and anisotropic surfaces. The results obtained by approaches (a) and (c) indicate that one of the region's motorways (the AP-9) probably acts as a significant barrier to wolf movement, possibly isolating two subpopulations, while the remaining motorways probably do not have major effects on dispersal. Estimation of lowest-cost routes for wolf displacement allowed identification of areas critical for connectivity, in which it would be of interest to perform detailed studies with more precise input data on motorway course and the location of drainage channels and underpasses etc. (these being the factors identified by sensitivity analysis to be those with most marked effects on the cost surfaces). The visualization of connectivity enabled by this approach will allow wolf management and conservation efforts to be focused on critical areas: such efforts might include measures aimed to encourage wolf dispersal through areas in which conflict with human activity is minimized, thus contributing positively to the management of a socially conflictive species. Finally, evaluation of the different cost surfaces suggests that it would be of interest to introduce two modifications to the anisotropic algorithm, to allow the user to weight the importance of the different input factors, and to allow the inclusion of more than one anisotropic factor in the model.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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