Changes in connectivity within the Vilcabamba-Amboro conservation corridor

Authors: Florencia Sangermano*, Clark University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Conservation, GIS, Bolivia, Corridors
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Vilcabamba-Amboro Conservation Corridor (VACC) is located in the tropical Andes. It extends from the lowland humid forest ecosystems through the cloud forest to alpine grassland and scrublands, and it is considered a hotspot of biodiversity, with record numbers of plants, butterflies and birds. The corridor spans an area of about 300,000 Km2 and includes 10 National parks and 69 other protected areas with multiple designations, including buffer management zones, private protected areas, and indigenous territories. Although the corridor and its surroundings have low population density, the area is currently threatened by the expansion of the agricultural frontier, and from extractive activities of oil and mining. Facing high human threat, maintaining the connectivity of this corridor of protected areas is essential to guarantee the movement of species, gene flow and metapopulation dynamics.
This work evaluates forest morphology changes over 16 years across the corridor and relates them to impacts on species movements though a model based on circuit theory. Results identified critical degradation areas and potential expansion and management zones. Declines in connectivity related to small scale artisanal and illegal mining were evident between Manu and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Between Isiboro-Secure and Carrasco National Parks connectivity degradation is mainly related to agriculture expansion. Given the extensive mining and presence of mining concessions between Bahuaja-Sonene and Manu National Parks, potential corridor expansion areas outside the current boundaries of the VACC were identified.

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