Title of symposium:
Connectivity in Tropical Landscapes

Principal organizer:
Sarah A Scriven
University of York (UK)

Co-organizers:
Jake Bicknell
University of Kent (UK)

Sara Williams
University of Montana (USA)

Symposium Summary
Tropical ecosystems across the globe are currently under threat from multiple environmental stressors. Such pressures frequently result in severely modified landscapes that consist of isolated and fragmented areas of natural habitat interspersed within unsuitable agricultural matrices. In recent decades, conserving landscape connectivity (i.e., the degree to which landscapes facilitate species movement) has received increasing recognition as a key strategy to protect tropical biodiversity, and well connected habitat networks may both preserve existing populations of tropical species and assist adaptation under climate change. Hence, for effective conservation of tropical biodiversity globally, it is imperative that current research focuses on how best to maintain and enhance connectivity in fragmented landscapes at multiple spatial scales.

In this symposium, we hope to broadcast the work of researchers focusing on novel strategies and concepts that will enhance connectivity in human-modified tropical landscapes. The talks presented will span different taxa (e.g., mammals, birds and freshwater fish), spatial scales, geographic locations (e.g., Southeast Asia, South America and India) and approaches relating to the topic of landscape connectivity and wildlife dispersal through corridors. The talks will also consist of both empirical field research and novel computational techniques, including the development of an innovative software tool that can map and prioritise important habitat connections under climate change. We will draw from these distinct contexts and methodologies to widen our understanding into how we can maintain connectivity in tropical landscapes, and how we can best develop effective conservation recommendations that will enhance tomorrow’s tropical ecosystems.

Confirmed list of speakers and presentation titles:

1. Dr Jedediah Brodie
University of Montana (USA)
Talk title: How do we decide which wildlife corridors to conserve? Prioritizing connections to maximize regional biodiversity persistence.

2. Dr Sara Williams
University of Montana (USA)
Talk title: Growing a corridor: incorporating simulated animal movement and location weighting into iterative connectivity optimization.

3. Dr Jenny Hodgson
University of Liverpool (UK)
Talk title: Decision support for restoring ecological networks in tropical developing countries using Condatis.

4. Simon Mitchell
University of Kent (UK)
Talk title: Riparian reserves in oil palm can protect forest bird communities.

5. Dr Divya Vasudev
Wildlife Conservation Society, India Program
Talk title: Human behaviour as a spatio-temporally varying barrier to species connectivity.

6. Dr Corine Vriesendorp
The Field Museum (USA)
Talk title: Cultural and biological connectivity in a massive conservation corridor in the Putumayo watershed in South America.