Thursday, October 21, 2010

Patch, Mosaic, Corridor

While urbanization and sprawl into every nook and cranny of the ecosystem has left large habitat patches in North American relatively difficult to attain, a post by Treehugger shows that the less dense South American continent has the potential to provide a large mosaic of territory for the native Panther - Jaguar onca - (aka Jaguar) through patches of larger areas connected through corridors.  The maps are dynamic, showing a macro-scale mapping between Central and South America.  (all images via Panthera)

The idea of a Corridor Initative, aims at providing the connectivity of these disconnected patches:  " linking core jaguar populations within the human landscape from northern Argentina to Mexico, preserving their genetic integrity so jaguars can live in the wild forever. Through multilateral partnerships, government support, and local buy-in, Panthera is the driving force behind this unique initiative, ensuring safe passage for the majestic and mysterious jaguar across its entire range."

The Landscape Analysis Lab offers shared mapping data of a range of habitats for large cats, although the scale is a bit large to make any generalizations.  Much like many species, we can see a marked decline in range due to fragmentation of habitat.  There are some more detail maps that show a smaller-scale landscape and connectivity corridors between larger patches of habitat.

While large predators are less common in patches in the United States, it would be fascinating to see this sort of macro-geographical analysis for the Western Grey Wolf, or even the less expansive ranges for our local Cougar, or even the more daring and urbane Coyote, which has become more prevalent in urban areas as their habitat and natural food sources are depleted.  Maybe instead of trying to figure out how to kill them or keep them from eating pets, we could come up with a regional solution that keeps the interactions between humans and wildlife to a minimum.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. There are cheetahs and leopards living throughout Namibia (where I live currently), as well as so many other beautiful animals (oryx, springbok, desert elephant, etc.). The quality of animal life and overall biodiversity here is stunning. It would be so great to see the US (my home country) re-wild it's lands using the mega-scale animal habitat & movement planning that you've described. On a much smaller scale, I really like the idea of creating and improving urban wildlife habitat, as covered on the Metropolitan Field Guide blog:


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