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Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Research Notes: Modeling Adirondack - Tug Hill connectivity
Michelle Brown and others
Adirondack Nature Conservancy and Land Trust, Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservation work by the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and others has focused on securing core and buffer areas within the Adirondack Park and Tug Hill. However, the long-term viability of wide-ranging species inhabiting these regions will likely depend on maintaining connectivity across the intervening and relatively unprotected Black River Valley---where land conversion, second home development and transport infrastructure threaten to further fragment natural habitats. Through spatial connectivity modeling, we seek to identify areas that will maintain or increase landscape permeability for a suite of focal species including American marten, black bear, Canada lynx, cougar, moose, river otter, and scarlet tanager. Results will be used to guide land protection efforts to secure habitat stepping stones by TNC and others and will influence transportation planning and maintenance work to improve permeability of barriers. The spatial model and region-specific parameters will be useful in assessing connectivity potential within other areas surrounding the Adirondack Park (for example, the Saint Lawrence Valley).