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Use of land facets to design linkages for climate change



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Ecological Applications 22 1 2012 pp 87 103 2012 by the Ecological Society of America Use of land facets to design linkages for climate change BRIAN M BROST1 AND PAUL BEIER School of Forestry and Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research Northern Arizona University Flagstaff Arizona 86011 5018 USA Abstract Least cost modeling for focal species is the most widely used method for designing conservation corridors and linkages However these linkages have been based on current species distributions and land cover both of which will change with large scale climate change One method to develop corridors that facilitate species shifting distributions is to incorporate climate models into their design But this approach is enormously complex and prone to error propagation It also produces outputs at a grain size km2 coarser than the grain at which conservation decisions are made One way to avoid these problems is to design linkages for the continuity and interspersion of land facets or recurring landscape units of relatively uniform topography and soils This coarse lter approach aims to conserve the arenas of biological activity rather than the temporary occupants of those arenas In this paper we demonstrate how land facets can be de ned in a rule based and adaptable way and how they can be used for linkage design in the face of climate change We used fuzzy c means cluster analysis to de ne land facets with respect to four topographic variables elevation slope angle solar insolation and topographic position and least cost analysis to design linkages that include one corridor per land facet To demonstrate the exibility of our procedures we designed linkages using land facets in three topographically diverse landscapes in Arizona USA Our procedures can use other variables including soil variables to de ne land facets We advocate using land facets to complement rather than replace existing focal species approaches to linkage design This approach can be used even in



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