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Environmental Skeptics and Critics, 2014, 3(1): 17-23
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Article

True-to-life friction values in connectivity ecology: Introducing reverse flow connectivity

Alessandro Ferrarini
Department of Evolutionary and Functional Biology, University of Parma, Via G. Saragat 4, I- 43100 Parma, Italy

Received 9 November 2013;Accepted 15 December 2013;Published online 1 March 2014
IAEES

Abstract
Modelling ecological connectivity across landscape is pivotal for understanding a large number of ecological processes, and for achieving environmental management goals such as preserving plant and animal populations, predicting infective disease spread and conserving biodiversity. A pivotal topic in connectivity ecology is how to assign realistic resistance (frictional) values to landscape categories. Based on these values and on the dispersal model, a large number of ecological processes can be understood. While in a recent paper I proposed a connectivity model and conceptual framework (flow connectivity) that is alternative to circuit theory, in this paper I propose an advance to flow connectivity that is able to solve this topic. Thanks to the conceptual and operative framework proposed here, named reverse flow connectivity, the subjectivity in ecological connectivity is minimized. Since connectivity is a pillar of metapopulation theory and gene flow, reverse flow connectivity can be regarded as a contribution to different fields of ecology, biology and landscape genetics. Reverse flow connectivity can also be applied to conservation planning and for predicting ecological and genetic effects of spatial heterogeneity and landscape changes.

Keywords flow connectivity;gene flow;landscape connectivity;metapopulation theory;partial differential equations;resistance values;species dispersal.



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