The objective of the study was to build on the existing Lower Hunter analysis of connectivity using GAP CLoSR, expanding the analysis to the Greater Hunter. At the regional scale, GAP CLoSR uses the Graphab graph theoretic connectivity model to characterise connectivity. The focus of this study was to provide a strategic broad-scale overview of connectivity to guide regional planning. We modelled connectivity using a generalised native woody vegetation versus non-vegetation approach.
Our approach to modelling connectivity is based on a conceptual model describing fine-scale dispersal behaviour outlined by review conducted by Doerr et al (2010). This review synthesised all available evidence on the relationship between structural connectivity and landscape-scale dispersal of Australian native fauna species. From the review, three key important parameters were identified that can be used in spatially explicit models to characterise dispersal. This conceptual model is the basis for the General Approach to Planning Connectivity from Local-scales to Regional (GAP CLoSR) connectivity modelling framework (Lechner & Lefroy 2014; Lechner et al. 2015b)(Figure 1):
1. A minimum patch size below which the patch cannot support a population.
2. A gap-crossing distance threshold, between connectivity elements such as scattered trees, which limit the distances of open ground (gaps) which individuals will move across.
3. An interpatch-crossing distance threshold above which fauna cannot move between patches.
The assessment of connectivity of woody vegetation in the Greater Hunter shows that the region is divided into two large components by a fragmented central area. Future restoration should focus on connecting these two regions and aim to reduce impacts within these areas. Modelling of development and restoration scenarios with respect to regional development plans would aid in the assessment of assessing conservation and restoration priorities.
|Type of Publication||Report|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Institution||University of Tasmania|
|Authors||Lechner AM, Lefroy EC|