• Red Rocks with water in front of them in the desert.
  • Clouds behind Joshua Tree and bushes.
  • Desert flowers blooming in bushes in front of mountains in the desert.
  • Setting sun reflecting of clouds of orange and blue behind a joshua tree.
  • Hoover Dam intake towers with water behind the dam showing that it is not full.

2012 SCIENCE PROJECTS

Corridors, Climate Change, and Conservation Planning in the Desert Southwest

Science Need(s)

Modeling and predicting habitat area, fragmentation and corridor network connectivity.

Principle Investigators: Jason Kreitler
Project Funding:  $57,000 provided by US Geological Survey
Project Duration: 2012-2014

Project Goal(s)

Use quantitative spatial analysis and principles from landscape ecology to determine where habitat corridors could most effectively connect large landscapes to potentially ameliorate certain effects of climate and land use change on biodiversity.�� It will also compare existing data on corridors to determine where there is consensus among sources, and where there are gaps.��

Brief Project Description

In the desert southwest biodiversity is facing a changing landscape due to human population growth, expansion of energy development, and from the persistent effects of climate change among other threats.�� The 2012 Desert LCC science needs document recognized the importance of modeling and predicting habitat area, fragmentation and corridor network connectivity for a broad range of wildlife taxa.�� Tools and methods from conservation planning are available to address some of these issues, but tools to evaluate the expected benefits of corridors in mitigating climate change effects are only in their infancy.�� This USGS project will use quantitative spatial analysis and principles from landscape ecology to determine where habitat corridors could most effectively connect large landscapes to potentially ameliorate certain effects of climate and land use change on biodiversity.�� It will also compare existing data on corridors to determine where there is consensus among sources, and where there are gaps.��

Project Location

Desert LCC

Project Deliverables

  1. New corridor map created from regionally derived parameters and Circuitscape (www.circuitscape.org)
  2. Assessment of climate stability of existing protected areas within the Desert LCC where existing data are available
  3. Prioritization of corridors for mitigation of climate change effects