Detecting critical scales in fragmented landscapes
We develop methods for quantifying habitat connectivity at multiple scales and assigning conservation priority to habitat patches based on their contribution to connectivity. By representing the habitat mosaic as a mathematical "graph," we show that percolation theory can be used to quantify connectivity at multiple scales from empirical landscape data. Our results indicate that connectivity of landscapes is highly scale dependent, exhibiting a marked transition at a characteristic distance and varying significantly for organisms with different dispersal behavior. More importantly, we show that the sensitivity and importance of landscape pattern is also scale dependent, peaking at scales associated with the percolation transition. In addition, the sensitivity analysis allows us to identify critical "stepping stone" patches that, when removed from the landscape, cause large changes in connectivity. Copyright © 1997 by the Ecological Society of America.
Keitt, TH; Urban, DL; Milne, BT
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