Prioritizing agricultural patches for reforestation to improve connectivity of habitat conservation areas: A guide to Grain-to-Green Project

Authors: Jianhua He*, wuhan university, yan yu, Wuhan University of Technology, yanfang liu, wuhan university, wanxian zhan, wuhan university
Topics: Land Use, Landscape, Applied Geography
Keywords: Landscape connectivity; Prioritizing agricultural patches; Landscape graph; Wanzhou district
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Landscape connectivity can largely affect biodiversity level and is a key concern in conservation planning. Considering that protected areas (PAs) may become functionally isolated “islands” under rapid land-use change, there is an urgent need to expand and connect protected areas to prevent further biodiversity loss and improve PAs effectiveness. Grain-to-Green Project (GTGP) is the largest reforestation program with an aim of controlling water and soil loss. However, the opportunities for connectivity gains through GTGP have been ignored. Here we provided a three-stage hierarchical framework incorporating soil erosion analysis, cropland suitability analysis and network analysis, to prioritize agricultural patches for reforestation under the scheme of GTGP. The potential reforestation patches were identified in the first two stages. Then, four different GTGP scenarios were designed, and a set of network metrics were used to determine the best scenario and prioritize patches that significantly enhance PAs connectivity. A typical GTGP region, Wanzhou district, was taken as the study area. We found that, (1) the agricultural patches that should be reforested cover an area of c. 40 km2 (1% of the study area). (2) The efficiency of GTGP scenarios varies by species, species with intermediate and high mobility benefit more from a scenario that continuously adds reforestation patches close to PAs, while for species with low dispersal ability, the amount of adding patches should also be taken into account to decide the appropriate scenario. We conclude that our framework can provide a useful diagnosis and guidance to restore PAs connectivity with limited land resources.

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