Urban development often impedes the movement of animals across the landscape and between habitat patches – which can ultimately lead to species’ local extinction. When evaluating how to maintain biodiversity in urban spaces, ecological connectivity (the ability of landscape attributes such as vegetation patches and corridors to facilitate or impede species movement) is therefore a key consideration.
Last year, the CAUL Hub collaborated with the City of Melbourne to measure ecological connectivity across the municipality. Using GIS and existing data, a framework was developed to generate a connectivity index. The tool can be applied to scenarios that either remove or add habitat, such as road development or adding habitat corridors, by calculating consequent connectivity for a series of animal groups, including amongst others, amphibians, insect pollinators and woodland birds. If applied more broadly, this framework enables benchmarking with other cities locally and around the world.