Corridor mapping at a local government scale using species habitat models
09 July 2015
Redleaf Environmental has just completed a 6 month study that presents ground breaking research into mapping natural asset corridors within Australia. Advancements in GIS interrogation, manipulation and analysis of complex datasets and biological processes has been gleaned from the international and national literature and applied to the Toowoomba local government area natural assets corridor mapping. Very few examples within Australia have used empirical data through extensive modelling of focal species habitat suitability to identify corridors. A powerful decision support tool is the result.
The principal objectives of the corridor mapping project were to identify, justify and map the following at a local government scale:
- biodiversity corridors
- corridor buffers
- existing vegetated areas within the corridors; and
- potential rehabilitation areas within the corridors.
The outputs of this decision support tool can be used by any number of potential users including landcare groups, NRM regional bodies, private landholders, research institutions, state and commonwealth departments. The corridors also extend into neighbouring local government areas and could potentially influence other councils in biodiversity corridor mapping.
The method integrates the results of seven focal species and guild models into a corridor design network. Each focal species is modelled through the ArcGIS platform using datasets and scientific knowledge of species biology to calculate habitat patches, population patches and to provide a basis for a linkage corridor network across a study area. The focal species models were based on sound scientific principles and understanding using the best available data layers and expert knowledge. The outputs from this study are transparent, repeatable and provide an evidence based approach to identifying corridors and justification for their location.
The client was given powerful GIS based decision support tools:
- Individual species / guild corridors including habitat values
- Composite model
- Urban wildlife model
- Landscape integrity model
- Rehabilitation tool
Potential applications include:
- Development assessment
- Policy development
- Prioritisation for parks and gardens – open space
- Strategic planning – acquisitions, biodiversity offsets
- Potential amendments to corridor mapping in the planning scheme
- Natural resource management – targeted restoration
- Catchment management plans
The corridor process is discussed in more detail on our website here.