Fragmented landscapes, road mortality and patch connectivity: modelling influences on the dispersal of Eurasian lynx
Article first published online: 19 JUL 2004
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 41, Issue 4, pages 711–723, August 2004
How to Cite
KRAMER-SCHADT, S., REVILLA, E., WIEGAND, T. and BREITENMOSER, U. (2004), Fragmented landscapes, road mortality and patch connectivity: modelling influences on the dispersal of Eurasian lynx. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41: 711–723. doi: 10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00933.x
- Issue published online: 19 JUL 2004
- Article first published online: 19 JUL 2004
- Received 13 February 2004; final copy received 1 May 2004
- large carnivores;
- large-scale approach;
- Lynx lynx;
- spatially explicit individual-based model;
- species reintroduction
- 1Although many reintroduction schemes for the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in Germany have been discussed, the implications of connectivity between suitable patches have not been assessed.
- 2We introduce an individual-based, spatially explicit dispersal model to assess the probability of a dispersing animal reaching another suitable patch in the complex heterogeneous German landscape, with its dense transport system. The dispersal model was calibrated using telemetric data from the Swiss Jura and based on a map of potential lynx dispersal habitat.
- 3Most suitable patches could be interconnected by movements of dispersing lynx within 10 years of reintroduction. However, when realistic levels of mortality risks on roads were applied, most patches become isolated except along the German–Czech border. Consequently, patch connectivity is limited not so much by the distribution of dispersal habitat but by the high mortality of dispersing lynx. Accordingly, rather than solely investing in habitat restoration, management efforts should try to reduce road mortality.
- 4Synthesis and applications. Our approach illustrates how spatially explicit dispersal models can guide conservation efforts and reintroduction programmes even where data are scarce. Clear limits imposed by substantial road mortality will affect dispersing lynx as well as other large carnivores, unless offset by careful road-crossing management or by the careful selection of release points in reintroduction programmes.