Habitat Connectivity Is essential to conserve biodiversity during climate change
Disruption of landscape connections for species movements and range changes is one of the greatest stressors to ecosystems. Movement is essential to wildlife survival, whether it be day-to-day movement of individuals seeking food, shelter, or mates; juvenile dispersal; seasonal migration; re-colonization after a local population is extirpated; or for species to shift their geographic range in response to climate change (Forman et al. 2003, Crooks and Sanjayan 2006).
Maintaining and enhancing connectivity is essential to support ecosystem functions, such as predator-prey relationships, gene flow, pollination and seed dispersal, competitive or mutualistic relationships among species, energy flow, and nutrient cycling. Enhancing connectivity and linking natural landscapes has been identified as the single most important adaptation strategy to conserve biodiversity during climate change (Heller and Zavaleta 2009). Strategically conserving and restoring essential connections between wildland areas is an effective and cost-efficient means to reduce the adverse effects of habitat loss and fragmentation, and is an essential mitigation measure for climate change.
Species movement and range change have become nearly impossible in our region by the isolation of the San Rafael Hills, Verdugo Mountains, Griffith Park, the middle and lower Arroyo Seco, Debs Park and Elysian Park. AFC recognizes the urgency of reconnecting them to restore movement, and is doing all we can to establish, enhance and protect habitat passageways through land acquisition, land use planning and governmental programs. AFC is participating in two state-wide initiatives to ensure that legislation, state bond issuances and governmental programs support wildlife corridors state-wide and in our region. Efforts to date have resulted in the availability of funding for wildlife corridors through Proposition 1, Proposition 68, and Los Angeles County Measure A,