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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:30am - 10:45am
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION/CONNECTIVITY: An integrated GIS-based toolkit for land use planners: evaluating impact of development and restoration planning in Sabah (Borneo) on clouded leopard connectivity

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AUTHORS: Żaneta Kaszta*, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Department of Zoology, University of Oxford; Samuel A. Cushman, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station; Andy Hearn, Dawn Burnham and David Macdonald - Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

ABSTRACT: Changes in land use/cover are the main drivers of global biodiversity loss, thus tools to evaluate effects of landscape change on biodiversity are crucial. However, landscape-level approaches are not widely implemented by the planning agencies, mainly due to lack of extensive species-specific data, complexity of ecological guidelines and lack of integrated protocols which would increase their usability. In this study we integrated spatial statistics, landscape ecology and landscape genetics into a GIS-based toolkit, to evaluate impact of development and forest restorations strategies on landscape connectivity and population dynamics of clouded leopard in Malaysian state Sabah. The toolkit was based on an existing clouded leopard habitat suitability model and a development plan for Sabah. Using the cumulative resistant kernel approach and individual-based spatial population genetics models, we evaluated the impacts of 59 scenarios (new segments of highways and railroads, upgraded roads and new forest restoration areas) on landscape connectivity and clouded leopard population dynamics. For most disruptive scenarios we proposed and evaluated alternatives. We found that applying all planned development strategies in Sabah without forest restoration will decrease landscape connectivity by 23% and significantly reduce population size. We therefore strongly advise that development of roads and railways should be paired with forest restorations in strategic places to mitigate negative impacts. Our study was based on clouded leopard in Sabah, however, the toolkit we developed can be applied to any landscapes, ecosystems and species/set of species.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
Hancock Parlor