Landscape Scale Wildlife Corridor Project

Past, present and future land-use in the Adirondack – Laurentians Ecological Corridor: Identifying risk areas for loss of connectivity due to roads and development and proposing proactive mitigation measures.
– Concordia University and the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Adirondack – Laurentians corridor is a natural ecological corridor that flows from the Adirondack Mountains of upper New York State, USA to Mont Tremblant National Park in Québec, Canada. This region boasts a wide variety of habitats (coniferous forests, wetlands, lakes and rivers), that still maintain ecological integrity and are rich in biodiversity. Recent growth in population, however, is causing a rise in development (roads, buildings, and other land-use changes). The Adirondack – Laurentians Ecological Corridor is one of five north-south wildlife corridors for animal movement in Québec, and thus, there is growing concern to identify and protect the connectivity of the landscape to ensure the preservation of the corridor. In the first part of this project, the metric of weighted urban proliferation (WUD) will be used to quantify the degree of urban development on the focal landscape. The Dyna-CLUE framework will then be utilized to produce maps of future development scenarios. For the second part of the project, circuit theory will be used to model and analyze the degree of landscape connectivity within the Adirondack – Laurentians corridor, and from this analysis, road locations most detrimental to animal movement will be identified, and mitigation alternatives will be compared to improve connectivity for the present landscape. Animal movement data will be used to map the actual movement of multiple species and validate the computer simulated models. For the third part of the project, insights gained in the first two parts will be combined to identify which road locations could become major barriers for connectivity for each future scenario. Mitigation opportunities utilizing fencing and wildlife passages will be applied and compared at distinct locations, and priority protection areas for connectivity will be identified.

Stay tuned for results