2015 Landscape Connectivity Assessment: Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast Region of New South Wales
This technical report provides detail on how the HCCREMS regional Biodiversity Prospectus project undertook regional connectivity modelling.
Changes to the extent and patterns of vegetation from human landuse have resulted in fragmented habitat for native species. Restriction of species movement caused by increased fragmentation or decreased connectivity through the alteration of landcover reduces population viability, increasing extinction risk (Caughley 1994; Fischer & Lindenmayer 2006; Brook et al. 2008). Landscape planning to address changes to the patterns and types of land cover is critical for reducing the impact of fragmentation on connectivity.
The objective of this study was to build on the existing Lower Hunter analysis of connectivity (Lechner & Lefroy 2014) using GAP CLoSR, expanding the analysis to the Hunter Central & Lower North Coast . At the regional scale GAP CLoSR uses the Graphab graph theoretic connectivity model (Foltête et al. 2012) to characterise connectivity. The focus of this study was to provide a strategic broad-scale overview of connectivity to guide regional planning. We modelled connectivity using a generalised native woody vegetation versus non-vegetation approach. This approach assumes that our model characterises habitat and connectivity for the majority of the native fauna species that utilise woody native vegetation; and the plant species that depend on these fauna for dispersal. We characterise patch isolation and connectivity characteristics using graph-metrics across the region and conclude by discussing these results in terms of conservation planning.
Dr Alex Lechner, University of Queensland (previously at the NERP Landscapes and Policy Research Hub)
Professor Ted Lefroy, NERP Landscapes and Policy Research Hub