Undertakings for ecological connectivity are seen as promising initiatives for addressing preservation of the Earth’s remaining biodiversity. Landscape fragmentation brought about by widespread industrialization had adversely affected interlinked ecosystems on which biodiversity depends.
Landscapes that were previously intact in different parts of the globe, caused detriments to the flora and fauna. Wildlife habitats became isolated and rendered totally disconnected due to clearances of densely populated rainforests, as well as by the blocking of arterial rivers by way of dams.
Loss of connectivity transpired not only between terrestrial realms, since ecological systems extend to seas and oceans. In severe cases, loss of connectivity resulted to extinction of species and continues to pose as threats to remaining wildlife and marine resources.
What is Ecological Connectivity and How Do Changes in Environment Contributed to Connectivity Loss
Ecological connectivity is the state in which a range of habitats allow organisms to move, whilst permitting their natural functions and corollary services to flow as elements of ecosystems. The extent of connectivity between landscapes determines the level of symbiotic relationships present, whether mutualistic to which two or more organisms benefit; or commensalistic, in which one or more organisms involved in the relationship does not receive benefits nor experience harm.
Contiguous connectivity facilitates natural movements and interaction, and can be impeded by loss of connectivity.
Connectivity loss is particularly critical in urban areas in light of the impermeable structures and surfaces altering landscapes. Roads and buildings, including sprawling parking spaces, parks and even domestic gardens, can separate habitats into smaller patches. As a result, they limit the area in which organisms move throughout the landscape, likely impeding the flow of natural functionalities and services important to an ecosystem.
Separation of habitats also impairs the ability of different species to group together, and maintain a robust population. Otherwise, species affected by connectivity loss suffer in a dwindling population. In the long run, their existence becomes endangered, or at worst, be driven into extinction.
Initiatives for promoting ecological connectivity must be carried out by exploring issues and formulating solutions not only at national levels but also on a global scale.