Wildlife Corridors

A wildlife corridor is a link of wildlife habitat, generally native vegetation, which joins two or more larger areas of similar wildlife habitat. Corridors are critical for the maintenance of ecological processes including allowing for the movement of animals and the continuation of viable populations. The main goal of implementing habitat corridors is to increase biodiversity. When areas of land are broken up by human interference, population numbers become unstable and many animal and plant species become endangered. By re-connecting the fragments, the population fluctuations can decrease dramatically. Corridors can contribute to three factors that stabilize a population: (1) Colonization—animals are able to move and occupy new areas when food sources or other natural resources are lacking in their core habitat, (2) Migration—species that relocate seasonally can do so more safely and effectively when it does not interfere with human development barriers, (3) Interbreeding—animals can find new mates in neighboring regions so that genetic diversity can increase and thus have a positive impact on the overall population.

Wildlife Corridors
Habitat corridors can be categorized according to their width. Typically the wider the corridor, the more use it will get from species. However, the width-length ratio, as well as design and quality play just as important of a role in creating the perfect corridor (Fleury 1997). The strip of land will suffer less from edge effects such as weeds, predators, and chemicals if it is constructed properly. The following are three divisions in corridor widths: (1) Regional – (>500m wide); connect major ecological gradients such as migratory pathways. (2) Sub-regional – (>300m wide); connect larger vegetated landscape features such as ridgelines and valley floors. (3) Local – (some <50m); connect remnant patches of gullies, wetlands, ridgelines, etc. Habitat corridors can also be divided according to their continuity. Continuous corridors are strips that are not broken up, while “stepping stone” corridors are small patches of suitable habitat. When stepping stones are arranged in a line, they form a strip of land connecting two areas, just like a continuous corridor would. Both kinds provide linkages between protected core areas and stimulate or allow species to migrate.

By – Anju Rawat
Foestry Department
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital