Corridor Use Predicted from Behaviors at Habitat Boundaries

  • Haddad
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Through empirical studies and simulation,I demonstrate how simple behaviors can be used in lieu of detailed dispersal studies to predict the effects of corridors on interpatch movements. Movement paths of three butterfly species were measured in large (1.64 ha) experimental patches of open habitat, some of which were connected by corridors. Butterflies that "reflected" off boundaries between open patches and the surrounding forest also emigrated from patches through corridors at rates higher than expected from random movement. This was observed for two open-habitat species, Eurema nicippe and Phoebis sennae; however, edges and corridors had no effect on a habitat generalist, Papilio troilus. Behaviorally based simulation models, which departed from correlated random walks only at habitat boundaries, predicted that corridors increase interpatch movement rates of both open-habitat species. Models also predicted that corridors have proportionately greater effects as corridor width increases, that movement rates increase before leveling off as corridor width increases, and that corridor effects decrease as patch size increases. This study suggests that corridors direct movements of habitat-restricted species and that local behaviors may be used to predict the conservation potential of corridors in fragmented landscapes.

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  • Haddad

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