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Keywords:

  • Connectivity;
  • conservation;
  • corridors;
  • metapopulations;
  • tigers;
  • tiger ecology;
  • tiger landscapes

Abstract

In an unprecedented response to the rapid decline in wild tiger populations, the Heads of Government of the 13 tiger range countries endorsed the St. Petersburg Declaration in November 2010, pledging to double the wild tiger population. We conducted a landscape analysis of tiger habitat to determine if a recovery of such magnitude is possible. The reserves in 20 priority tiger landscapes can potentially support >10,000 tigers, almost thrice the current estimate. However, most core reserves where tigers breed are small and land-use change in rapidly developing Asia threatens to increase reserve and population isolation. Maintaining population viability and resilience will depend upon a landscape approach to manage tigers as metapopulations. Thus, both site-level protection and landscape-scale interventions to secure habitat corridors are simultaneous imperatives. Co-benefits, such as payment schemes for carbon and other ecosystem services, should be employed as strategies to mainstream landscape conservation in tiger habitat into development processes.