Ecological networking

Reversing the negative effects of nature fragmentation

Ecological networking and rewilding reverse the effects of habitat fragmentation. The latter occurs when natural spaces are increasingly reduced, divided and degraded (often in that order) by combined anthropogenic forcing factors, including urbanization, infrastructure (e.g. busy roads, canals, intensive agricultural areas). Reduced and degraded natural areas are inevitably subject to local extinctions of environmentally sensitive plants and animals and the replacement by generalistic or opportunistic species, that exert further pressure on the remaining native flora and fauna.

Extensive networks of busy roads hinder the movement of animals.... By E. van Maanen.

What is left in the divided system of more or less natural vestiges is also known as a (meta)population, or widespread local populations clinging on to survive in remaining habitat fragments, depending on the rate of population exchange. These populations are vulnerable to for instance stochastic events (e.g. epizootics, bushfire or mismanagement), habitat degradation and in high isolation to genetic impoverishment.

....and present a mortality sink for many species! By E. van Maanen.

Rejoin, enlarge and revitalise nature

The negative effects of habitat fragmentation can be reversed, solved or at least alleviated by ecological networking. This is also the process of restoring and safeguarding large-scale habitats with species-specific resources, and reconnecting them with natural corridors and wildlife crossings. Restoring natural processes with balanced trophic relations through ecologically interacting species is subsequently vital to rejuvenate and maintain large interconnected core area systems, where nature can continue its course and evolve.

Resources on ecological networking