21. Biological corridors and connectivity

  1. David W. Macdonald7 and
  2. Katherine J. Willis8
  1. Samuel A. Cushman1,
  2. Brad McRae2,
  3. Frank Adriaensen3,
  4. Paul Beier4,
  5. Mark Shirley5 and
  6. Kathy Zeller6

Published Online: 25 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch21

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2

How to Cite

Cushman, S. A., McRae, B., Adriaensen, F., Beier, P., Shirley, M. and Zeller, K. (2013) Biological corridors and connectivity, in Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2 (eds D. W. Macdonald and K. J. Willis), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118520178.ch21

Editor Information

  1. 7

    Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, University of Oxford, UK

  2. 8

    Biodiversity Institute, Oxford Martin School, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

  2. 2

    The Nature Conservancy, North America Region1917, Seattle, USA

  3. 3

    Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

  4. 4

    School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

  5. 5

    School of Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

  6. 6

    Panthera, 8 West 40th Street, 18th Floor, NY, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470658765

Online ISBN: 9781118520178



  • connectivity modelling;
  • graph theory;
  • landscape resistance;
  • least-cost (LC) modelling;
  • population connectivity;
  • quantitative corridor;
  • wildlife populations


The goal of this chapter is to describe the state of the art in quantitative corridor and connectivity modelling. It reviews several critical issues in modelling, and provides expert guidance and examples to help practitioners implement effective programmes to preserve, enhance or create connectivity among wildlife populations. It first reviews the fundamental task of estimating landscape resistance, comparing expert opinion and empirical methods. Next, it describes current methods of predicting connectivity from resistance surfaces. It concludes with discussion of how effectively to validate connectivity model predictions. In recent years least-cost (LC) modelling has become the dominant modelling tool to evaluate functional landscape connectivity, especially in applied studies. Advances in computing have allowed applications of graph algorithms to continuous landscapes instead of simple networks. Circuit and LC models represent two extremes in assumptions about movement and connectivity. A promising graph-theoretic approach to connectivity modelling is centrality analysis.