General approach to planning connectivity from local scales to regional (GAP CLoSR): combining multi-criteria analysis and connectivity science to enhance conservation outcomes at regional scale in the Lower Hunter
Lechner, A and Lefroy, T, General approach to planning connectivity from local scales to regional (GAP CLoSR): combining multi-criteria analysis and connectivity science to enhance conservation outcomes at regional scale in the Lower Hunter, National Environmental Research Program, Australia, pp. 1-104. (2014) [Government or Industry Research]
Habitat fragmentation as a result of human activity is a key threat to natural systems, resulting in landscapes that support smaller, more isolated populations of native species. A consequence is reduced population viability and increased extinction risk. Mitigation efforts often focus on identifying, conserving and restoring habitat patches to maintain connectivity through wildlife corridors or scattered trees that function as stepping-stones for dispersal.
This study set out to develop a decision support framework, the General Approach to Planning Connectivity from Local Scales to Regional (GAP CLoSR) framework, to facilitate participatory planning and implementation of biodiversity connectivity networks at regional and local scales. The intention of this project was to produce and build a transferable GIS framework that could potentially be used across Australia for connectivity planning and draws on best practice ecological science. This report describes the development of the prototype framework in the Lower Hunter Region of New South Wales.
GAP CLoSR was developed by combining multi-criteria decision analysis with connectivity modelling in order to consider the ecological determinants of biodiversity conservation, such as habitat requirements and dispersal behaviour of target species and communities, within a collaborative, whole-of-landscape approach. The framework enables the assessment of a range of land use scenarios that reflect different ecological, social and economic interests within a spatially explicit GIS system. It has been designed to use commonly available spatial data in a scientifically rigorous way and be readily applied by consultants, NRM managers, NGOs or government agencies. The application of the method is flexible so that a range of interests may be included depending on the datasets available and the issues that need to be addressed in a particular region.
GAP CLoSR consists of two major components and a GIS tool: i) a connectivity model, ii) the multi-criteria analysis framework and iii) a GIS tool to automate preparation of spatial datasets for use in the models.