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Buffered or bundled, least-cost paths are not least-cost corridors: Computational experiments on path-based and wide-path-based models for conservation corridor design and effective distance estimation
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Geoinformatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5572-7395
2018 (English)In: Ecological Informatics, ISSN 1574-9541, E-ISSN 1878-0512, Vol. 44, p. 109-116Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conservation of wildlife corridors has been an option to counter the problem of loss and fragmentation of wildlife habitat. A mathematical model often adopted in this option uses an algorithm for finding least-cost paths over a cost surface represented in raster format, i.e., as a grid of weighted cells. This model is easy to implement and computationally efficient, but not without drawbacks. The most notable one is that a path is a string of cells and may not be an appropriate representation of an actual wildlife corridor, which is often significantly wider than a single cell. Through computational experiments with artificial landscapes, this paper compares the existing model and an alternative model that 1) represents a corridor as a swath of cells, called a “wide path,” swept by a preset form, 2) defines the cost of a wide path as the sum of the cost-weighted areas of all its cells, and 3) finds a least-cost wide path with a selected width between two terminuses over a raster cost surface. Results suggest that the wide-path-based model is an improvement over the path-based model in that both take the same raster cost surface as input but the former finds a better corridor in terms of form and cost without sacrificing the ease of implementation and computational efficiency that the latter has. This implies that the wide-path-based model will immediately benefit ecologists and planners who use geographic information systems for the design of wildlife corridors or the study of landscape connectivity. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2018. Vol. 44, p. 109-116
Keywords [en]
Corridor width, Geographic information systems, Landscape connectivity, Raster cost surfaces, Wide paths, Wildlife corridors
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227429DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.02.002ISI: 000430773400011Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85042852800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-227429DiVA, id: diva2:1210455
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 942-2015-1513
Note

Export Date: 9 May 2018; Article; Funding details: 942-2015-1513, Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas; Funding text: The author would like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, which have enhanced the structure and presentation of this article. Any errors remain, of course, the sole responsibility of the author. This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council Formas [ 942-2015-1513 ]. QC 20180528

Available from: 2018-05-28 Created: 2018-05-28 Last updated: 2018-05-28Bibliographically approved

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Shirabe, Takeshi

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