For those of us with an interest in wildlife conservation, this month’s Free for All is for you. CorridorDesign.org is working to provide and disseminate information to the public about wildlife corridors and their importance in wildlife management and biodiversity. Their goal is to reach out to the community about their work with wildlife corridors; and to start a national conversation which will benefit science and conservation. There are a number of spatial factors to consider when creating a model for wildlife corridors that facilitate the movement of key species. CorridorDesign provides information on the basics of design as well as the important factors involved with modeling on their Designing Corridors page.
So what do you get when you combine wildlife biologists with spatial enthusiasts? The Corridor Design Toolbox for ArcGIS. The initial design was conceived while working on the South Coast Missing Linkages project for Southern California – multiple corridor design reports about this project can be found on their website.
Their Corridor Design Toolbox includes scripts that take the user through the steps of designing a wildlife corridor, including classifying topographic features from a raster layer according to slope and creating a habitat suitability model. The user can then create a potential habitat patch map that is then used to model corridors by connecting these habitat patches. The group also makes an extension to calculate statistics on corridor width, patch distance and habitat suitability. All of this comes with a large disclaimer: while this can be a useful tool for designing corridors, it is by no means the only or best way to go about doing so – it’s merely one of many options.
All of these ArcGIS add-ons (along with a few more) can be found at CorridorDesign.org on their download page found here. You can also find a number of other free downloads at Jenness Enterprises, the company that programmed the Corridor Designer extension. Also, please consider donating to them for all the hard work they put into the tools and for their conservation efforts.