On the limitations of graph-theoretic connectivity in spatial ecology and conservation
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Author. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 48, Issue 6, pages 1543–1547, December 2011
How to Cite
Moilanen, A. (2011), On the limitations of graph-theoretic connectivity in spatial ecology and conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48: 1543–1547. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02062.x
- Issue published online: 1 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2011
- Received 29 April 2011; accepted 9 August 2011 Handling Editor: E.J. Milner-Gulland
- conservation planning;
- habitat quality;
- species distribution modeling;
1. Applications of graph-theoretic connectivity are increasing at an exponential rate in ecology and conservation. Here, limitations of these measures are summarized.
2. Graph-theoretic connectivity measures are fundamentally limited as they require specification of a habitat quality threshold to allow definition of habitat patches (nodes). Frequently, a second threshold (critical dispersal distance) is applied in the identification of graph edges.
3. Graph-theoretic measures are poorly applicable to large-scale, high-resolution, grid-based data that describe distributions of species in habitats of varying quality.
4. Graph-theoretic connectivity primarily concerns the emigration-immigration component of spatial population-dynamics. Therefore, it cannot alone answer questions about the regional population size, resilience or persistence of a focal species.
5.Synthesis and applications: Conservation managers in particular should appreciate these limitations before applying graph-theoretic analysis to spatial conservation planning.