Canada has committed to protecting nearly 20 per cent of the country’s landscape by 2020.
Canada has committed to protecting nearly 20 per cent of the country’s landscape by 2020. But many areas of conservation are currently a series of patchwork zones that force animals to hopscotch dangerously between unsafe areas.
Now, a new study led by recent University of Victoria PhD graduate Frances Stewart shows how the movements of one small mammal – the weasel-like fisher – through natural forested corridors underlines the importance of these safe pathways and points to implications for many other forest animals across the country such as the wolverine, moose, lynx and hare.
“In some landscapes, protected areas stand alone in a sea of cleared and developed land”, says UVic environmental scientist Jason Fisher, who supervised the research and is one of the five co-authors of this new paper. “We hope that protected areas expand to include not only squares of natural forest, but also these long, linear forested corridors that connect protected areas. They’re vital if Canada’s protected areas are expected to maintain persistent mammal populations,” he adds.
“We traditionally assume animals are able to hopscotch between protected areas,” explains Stewart. “Instead, the fisher relies upon these corridors between and around the protected areas. If we continue on with ‘business as usual’ and assume that wildlife can hopscotch between areas of protection, we may continue to see more wildlife species at risk.”
Continue reading at University of Victoria.
Image via University of Victoria.