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Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Allocation of our world’s natural resources will become increasingly important as the human population continues to grow. Apportionment is especially imperative when considering the health of wildlife populations’ worldwide (Svoray, Bar, & Bannet, 2005; Theobald, Hobbs, Bearly, Zack, Shenk, & Riebsame, 2000). Efforts to provide basic infrastructure, housing, and food for a growing human population confounds the ability of wildlife to meet their own needs (Lagabrielle, Botta, Dare, David, Aubert, & Fabricius, 2010; Svoray et al., 2005). Previous research indicates that human conversion of native habitat is the leading threat to wildlife in the United States and throughout the world (Lagabrielle et al., 2010; Miller, Groom, Hess, Steelman, Stokes, Thompson, Bowman, Fricke, King, & Marquardt, 2009; Polasky, Nelson, Lonsdorf, Fackler, & Starfield, 2005; Stokes, Hanson, Oaks, Straub, & Ponio, 2009). Habitat conversion of the native landscape often results in the fragmentation of the landscape mosaic, severing the connection between habitat patches used by wildlife and populations of wildlife (Beir & Noss, 1998). Connectivity is crucial to wildlife for several reasons including dispersal, gene flow, and population persistence among other reasons (McRae, Dickson, Keitt, & Sirah, 2008).

Conservation planning seldom occurs at local levels (i.e. municipal, county) rather it is often a product of national, state, or regional decision-making (Press, Doak, & Steinberg, 1996). The government levels at which the majority of wildlife management transpires is rarely the level at which habitat conversion takes place, the local level (Azzerad & Nilon, 2006). Increasingly scientists, ecologists, planners, and community members have been converging to incorporate wildlife and other ecological information into local land-use planning and decision-making (Theobald et al., 2000). Their ability to achieve this goal has evolved with the advancement of technology, specifically habitat models and geographic information system (GIS) (Roloff, Donovan, Linden, & Strong, 2009).

This paper is a chapter within the context of a broader problem – loss of biodiversity worldwide, and its goal is to provide a summation of previous work centered on incorporating wildlife planning and subsequent ecological data within the framework of local land-use planning. In it, a review of current literature is summarized. In addition, ‘Circuitscape,’ a new and increasingly accepted corridor identification model is also examined. The primary objective of it is to provide techniques, tools, and processes by which planners and developers can attain wildlife conservation data in a format and scale deemed both meaningful and helpful.

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