Abstract: Wildlife populations in small, isolated reserves face genetic and demographic threats to their survival. To increase the probability of long‐term persistence, biologists promote metapopulation management, in which breeding subpopulations are protected as source pools. Animals that disperse from the source pools increase the probability of persistence of the metapopulation across the greater landscape. We used a geographic information system (GIS)–based, cost‐distance model to design a conservation landscape along the Himalayan foothills for managing a metapopulation of Asia's largest predator, the tiger (Panthera tigris). The model is based on data from 30 years of field research on tigers, recent satellite imagery, and a decade of buffer‐zone restoration in this region. We used the model to (1) identify potential dispersal corridors for tigers; (2) identify strategic transit refuges; and (3) make recommendations for off‐reserve land management and restoration to enhance the potential of corridors for tigers. This tool can aid the design of conservation landscapes for other endangered, wide‐ranging species in human‐dominated environments.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2004
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