On optimal choices in increase of patch area and reduction of interpatch distance for metapopulation persistence

R.S. Etienne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Metapopulation theory teaches that the viability of metapopulations may be enlarged by decreasing the probability of extinction of local populations, or by increasing the colonization probability of empty habitat patches. In a metapopulation model study it has recently been found that reducing the extinction probability of the least extinction-prone patch and increasing the colonization probability between the two least extinction-prone patches are the best options to prolong the expected lifetime of a metapopulation. In this article I examine with a more detailed model whether this translates into enlarging the largest patch and reducing the interpatch distance between the largest patches. Using two measures of metapopulation persistence (longevity and resilience) I found, firstly, that the largest patch should generally be enlarged if the choice is to enlarge a patch by a certain percentage (relative change) and that the smallest patch should generally be enlarged if the choice is to enlarge a patch by a fixed amount of area (absolute change), and secondly that indeed one should reduce the interpatch distance between the two largest patches, if the choice is among all pairs of patches. The strength of these rules of thumb (particularly the second part of the first rule) depends on the parameter values, particularly the amount of clustering of patches, the mean dispersal distance and the number of dispersers. Also, the rules of thumb are less pronounced when resilience is chosen as a measure of metapopulation persistence than when longevity is chosen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-90
JournalEcological Modelling
Volume179
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • landscape connectivity
  • habitat fragmentation
  • artificial landscapes
  • dynamics
  • extinction
  • models
  • population
  • conservation
  • behavior
  • distributions

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