Identifying transit corridors for elephant using a long time-series

C. Pittiglio, A.K. Skidmore, H.A.M.J. van Gils, H.H.T. Prins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The role of corridors in mitigating the effects of landscape fragmentation on biodiversity is controversial. Recent studies have highlighted the need for new approaches in corridor design using long-term datasets. We present a method to identify transit corridors for elephant at a population scale over a large area and an extended period of time using long-term aerial surveys. We investigated environmental and anthropogenic factors directly and indirectly related to the wet versus dry season distribution of elephant and its transit corridors. Four environmental variables predicted the presence of elephant at the landscape scale in both seasons: distance from permanent water, protected areas and settlements and vegetation structure. Path analysis revealed that altitude and monthly average NDVI, and distance from temporary water had a significant indirect effect on elephant distribution at local scale in dry and wet seasons respectively. Five transit corridors connecting Tarangire National Park and the northern as well as south-eastern wet season dispersal areas were identified and matched the wildlife migration routes described in the 1960s. The corridors are stable over the decades, providing landscape connectivity for elephant. Our approach yielded insights how advanced spatial analysis can be integrated with biological data available from long-term datasets to identify actual transit corridors and predictors of species distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • species distribution models
  • manyara-national-park
  • northern tanzania
  • southern africa
  • aerial surveys
  • movement corridors
  • wildlife corridors
  • loxodonta-africana
  • simanjiro plains
  • plant phenology

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