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Keywords:

  • Colonization;
  • habitat restoration;
  • connectivity;
  • corridor;
  • habitat network;
  • metapopulation;
  • incidence function model

Abstract

Creation of new habitat could help species respond to climate change by facilitating range expansion in fragmented landscapes. However, there are currently no guidelines for deciding where new habitat should be placed to promote range changes. We developed a model to simulate the expansion of populations across a heavily fragmented landscape in the United Kingdom, and investigated the effectiveness of six habitat creation strategies for woodland, grassland, heathland, and wetland habitats. A strategy aimed at linking clusters of habitat patches was most effective for three of the four habitat types. Adding habitat evenly or randomly across the landscape, or according to stakeholder suggestions, were consistently better strategies than increasing aggregation of habitat. The results highlight that the best spatial pattern to facilitate range expansion is different from the best pattern to prevent extinction.