What is connectivity conservation?

Connectivity conservation is a people-driven approach to conservation that recognises that the long-term health and resilience of our landscapes, natural processes, wildlife and communities depend on their forming part of a large, interconnected network.

In the past, natural landscapes were well connected and continuous. Today roads, fences and buildings serve to carve up the land into small islands, acting as blockages to species movements, reducing available habitat and impacting on precious natural resources.

Research shows that the traditional approach of conserving isolated pockets of habitat does not on its own ensure the long-term survival of species and communities. Like us, animals need to be able to move to survive. Confining wildlife to small, isolated habitat fragments decreases the diversity and amount of habitat available to them, increases competition for food and reduces opportunities for breeding.

Connectivity is also fundamental for supporting biodiversity and the ecosystem processes that provide the natural services upon which all life depends, such as clean air and water, productive soils, carbon storage, pollination and disease control.

By reconnecting habitats and ecosystems through the protection and restoration of remnant bushland and forests, creating wildlife corridors and building stepping-stones of vegetation across the landscape, connectivity conservation initiatives like GER:

  • Facilitate the natural movement of wildlife and plants by sustaining habitats and migration routes.
  • Increase the resilience and productivity of our land, wildlife, people and economies by maintaining healthy natural processes.
  • Preserve the rivers, wetlands and lakes that supply three quarters of Australia’s 25.5 million residents, farmers and industries with fresh water.
  • Provide vital refugia for wildlife, enabling them to move and adapt to a changing climate.
  • Provide natural solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis through the large-scale protection and expansion of our carbon-rich forests, woodlands and wetlands.
  • Conserve the scenic, social, cultural and spiritual values of our natural landscapes.
Connectivity conservation in practice. Image copyright DSEWPac.

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