Environmental Skeptics and Critics, 2015, 4(1): 27-35
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Where do they come from? Flow connectivity detects landscape bottlenecks

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

Received 19 April 2014;Accepted 10 December 2014;Published online 1 March 2015

In this paper, bottleneck flow connectivity is first introduced. A landscape bottleneck is defined here as the portion of an arbitrary study area which inevitably tunnels a specimen towards the point where it has been detected in situ. In other words, a bottleneck delimits the portion of the study area which forces the specimen to pass through the detected point of presence with, at most, a tolerance distance equal to an a priori defined uncertainty. There is one precise reason for the introduction of bottleneck flow connectivity: when a specimen is detected through in situ observations or GPS devices, it should be possible to derive the portion of the landscape where it can come from. In fact, the detected specimen is usually just one individual of an entire population that is moving somewhere in the landscape. Hence, such specimen can work as a tracker of the whole population if we have the proper methodological tools to turn its detected position into a map where the landscape bottleneck of the detected location is delineated. In case of a species of conservation interest, the application of bottleneck flow connectivity is useful for the individuation and then the conservation of such population. In case of an exotic undesired species, bottleneck flow connectivity can help individuate the location of the population that should be eradicated, starting from few field observations. An applicative example for wolf in the Ceno Valley (Italy) is provided. Bottleneck flow connectivity has thus interesting implications both for the conservation of species of interest, but also for the management of undesired exotic species.

Keywords backward simulations;biotic bottlenecks;biotic flows;dynamical GIS;exotic species;flow connectivity;gene flow;landscape connectivity;species dispersal..

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