Survival in patchy landscapes: The interplay between dispersal, habitat loss and fragmentation

Bernardo B.S. Niebuhr, Marina E. Wosniack*, Marcos C. Santos, Ernesto P. Raposo, Gandhimohan M. Viswanathan, Marcos G.E. Da Luz, Marcio R. Pie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Habitat loss and fragmentation are important factors determining animal population dynamics and spatial distribution. Such landscape changes can lead to the deleterious impact of a significant drop in the number of species, caused by critically reduced survival rates for organisms. In order to obtain a deeper understanding of the threeway interplay between habitat loss, fragmentation and survival rates, we propose here a spatially explicit multi-scaled movement model of individuals that search for habitat. By considering basic ecological processes, such as predation, starvation (outside the habitat area), and competition, together with dispersal movement as a link among habitat areas, we show that a higher survival rate is achieved in instances with a lower number of patches of larger areas. Our results demonstrate how movement may counterbalance the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation in altered landscapes. In particular, they have important implications for conservation planning and ecosystem management, including the design of specific features of conservation areas in order to enhance landscape connectivity and population viability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11898
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015


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