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Disease, habitat fragmentation and conservation


McCallum, HI and Dobson, A, Disease, habitat fragmentation and conservation, Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 269, (1504) pp. 2041-2049. ISSN 0962-8452 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2002.2079


Habitat loss and the resultant fragmentation of remaining habitat is the primary cause of loss of biological diversity. How do these processes affect the dynamics of parasites and pathogens? Hess has provided some important insights into this problem using metapopulation models for pathogens that exhibit 'S-I' dynamics; for example, pathogens such as rabies in which the host population may be divided into susceptible and infected individuals. A major assumption of Hess's models is that infected patches become extinct, rather than recovering and becoming resistant to future infections. In this paper, we build upon this framework in two different ways: first, we examine the consequences of including patches that are resistant to infection; second, we examine the consequences of including a second species of host that can act as a reservoir for the pathogen. Both of these effects are likely to be important from a conservation perspective. The results of both sets of analysis indicate that the benefits of corridors and other connections that allow species to disperse through the landscape far outweigh the possible risks of increased pathogen transmission. Even in the commonest case, where harmful pathogens are maintained by a common reservoir host, increased landscape connectance still allows greater coexistence and persistence of a threatened or endangered host. © 2002 The Royal Society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:McCallum, HI (Professor Hamish McCallum)
ID Code:44364
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:195
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2007-10-30
Last Modified:2011-08-02

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