Corridors in Real Landscapes: A Reply to Simberloff and Cox

Habitat corridors have become popular in land‐use plans and conservation strategies, yet few data are available to either support or refute their value. Simberloff and Cox (1987) have criticized what they consider an uncritical acceptance of corridors in conservation planning. Any reasonable conservation strategy must address the overwhelming problem of habitat fragmentation. Although Simberloff and Cox use island analogies to illustrate advantages of isolation, these analogies do not apply directly to problems in landscape planning. Genetics also does not offer unequivocal advice, but the life histories of wide‐ranging animals (eg., the Florida panther) suggest that the maintenance or restoration of connectivity in the landscape is a prudent strategy. Translocation of individuals among reserves—considered by Simberloff and Cox a viable alternative to natural dispersal—is impractical for whole communities of species that are likely to suffer from problems related to fragmentation. Many of the potential disadvantages of corridors could be avoided or mitigated by enlatging cowidor width or by applying ecologically sound zoning regulations. Corridors are not the solution to all of our conservation problems, nor should they be used as a justification for small reserves. But corridors can be a cost‐effective complement to the strategy of large and multiple reserves in real‐life landscapes.
Peer-reviewed article
Noss, R.F.
Conservation Biology
South Africa

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