Graph theory in action: Evaluating planned highway tracks based on connectivity measures

Vera Vasas, Tibor Magura, Ferenc Jordán, Béla Tóthmérész

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Maintaining connectivity among local populations in a fragmented landscape is crucial for the survival of many species. For isolated habitat patches, stochastic fluctuations and reduced gene flow can lead to high risk of extinction. The connectivity of the landscape is especially crucial for the carabid species living in the fragmented forests of the Bereg plain (NE Hungary and W Ukraine) because a highway will be constructed through the plain. Our purpose is to (1) evaluate the impacts of three possible highway tracks, (2) suggest a solution that is realistic with less impact on connectivity than other plans and (3) discuss how to decrease the disadvantageous effects of each track. Our results, based on a network analysis of landscape graph of patches and ecological corridors, indicate that the intended highway could have deleterious consequences on forest-living carabids. Relatively simple actions, like the establishment of stepping stones, could compensate for the loss of habitat connectivity and promote the survival of carabids, or minor modifications in one possible track could diminish its adverse effects. While many other studies would be needed for a comprehensive assessment of the biotic impact of the highway, we provide an example on the usefulness of network analysis for land use management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2009

Keywords

  • Bereg plain
  • Carabidae
  • Habitat network
  • Landscape graph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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