Wildlife corridor

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A wildlife corridor, habitat corridor, or green corridor

human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity,[3]
and habitat corridors are a possible mitigation.


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:

  • Colonization—animals are able to move and occupy new areas when food sources or other natural resources are lacking in their core habitat.
  • Migration—species that relocate seasonally can do so more safely and effectively when it does not interfere with human development barriers.
  • Interbreeding—animals can find new mates in neighbouring regions, increasing genetic diversity

Rosenberg et al. (1995)

native vegetation or intermediate target patches of habitat.[5]
Their definition simply required that movement to a target patch via the corridor be greater than if the corridor were absent.

Although corridors had originally been implemented with the assumption that they would increase biodiversity, not enough research had been done to come to a solid conclusion. The case for corridors had been built more on intuition rather than

populations due to increased pollen and seed by animals. Results of their 2002 experiment provided a large-scale experimental demonstration that habitat (or wildlife) corridors facilitate movement of disparate taxa between otherwise isolated patches even after controlling for area effects (Tewksbury et al., 2002[6]
). Another factor that needs to be taken into account is what species the corridor is intended for. Some species have reacted more positively to corridors than others.

A habitat corridor could be considered as a possible solution in an area where the destruction of a natural area has greatly affected its

farms can interrupt plants and animals in the region being destroyed. Furthermore, natural disasters such as wildfires and floods can leave animals with no choice but to evacuate. If the habitat is not connected to a safer one, it will ultimately lead to death. A remaining portion of natural habitat is called a remnant, and to conserve species such portions need to be connected, because when migration decreases, extinction increases (Fleury 1997).[7]

Corridors can be made in two distinct areas—either water or land. Water corridors are called riparian ribbons and usually come in the form of rivers and streams. Land corridors come on a scale as large as wooded strips connecting larger woodland areas. However, they can also be as simple as a line of shrubs along a sidewalk (Fleury & Brown 1997). Such areas can facilitate the movement of small animals, especially birds, from tree to tree, until they find a safe habitat to rest in. Not only do minimal corridors aid in the movement of animals, they are also aesthetically pleasing, which can sometimes encourage the community to accept and support them.[7]


Species can be categorized in one of two groups; passage users and corridor dwellers.

Passage users occupy corridors for brief periods. These animals use corridors for such events as

herbivores, medium to large carnivores, and migratory species are passage users.[8]
One common misconception is that the corridor only needs to be wide enough for the passage users to get through. However, the corridor still must be wide enough to be safe and also encourage the animals to use it, even though they do not live out their entire lives in it.

Corridor dwellers can occupy the passage anywhere from several days to several years. Species such as

mammals can spend their entire lives in linear habitats. In this case, the corridor must include everything that a species needs to live and breed, such as soil for germination, burrowing areas, and multiple other breeding adults.[8]


Habitat corridors can be categorized according to their width. Typically the wider the corridor, the more use it will get from species.

edge effects
such as weeds, predators, and chemicals if it is constructed properly. The following are three divisions in corridor widths:

  • Regional – (>500 metres (1,600 ft) wide); connect major ecological gradients such as migratory pathways.
  • Sub-regional – (>300 metres (980 ft) wide); connect larger vegetated landscape features such as ridgelines and valley floors.
  • Local – (some <50 metres (160 ft)); 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.

Some kinds provide linkages between protected core areas and stimulate or allow species to migrate.

Corridors can also be miniature in the form of

underpasses or overpasses used for crossing a man-made feature such as highways. They improve safety for both animals and humans. Many busy highways cross through natural habitats that native species occupy, as well. Large animals such as deer become a hazard when they cross in front of traffic and are hit by vehicles. An overpass or an underpass serves as a bridge to facilitate the movement of animals across a busy road. Observations have shown that underpasses are actually more successful than overpasses because many times animals are too timid to cross over a bridge in front of traffic and would prefer to be more hidden (Dole et al. 2003).[10]


Corridors can be expensive to plan out and put into action. For example, Daniel Simberloff et al. state that “a bridge that would maintain a riparian corridor costs about 13 times as much per lane-mile as would a road that would sever the corridor.” He also states that maintenance of a corridor would be much more costly than refuges for endangered species. It would simply be easier to move animals between refuges than to buy land, install a corridor, and maintain it. However, where the goal is not just to preserve a few large animal species but to protect biodiversity among all plants and animals, then habitat corridors may be the only option. Corridors are going to be expensive to implement no matter what, but it does depend on the type, location, and size, which can all vary to a great degree. With the lack of field data on the effectiveness; many organisations, government's, are not willing to consider putting their capital and efforts in green corridors.[citation needed]

Monitoring use

Researchers must pay attention to the population changes in animals after a corridor has been implemented to ensure that there are no harmful effects. Researchers can use both mark-recapture techniques and evaluate genetic flow to observe how much a corridor is being used. Marking and recapturing animals is more useful when keeping a close eye on individual movement.[11] However, tagging animals and watching them does not give any data on whether the migrating individuals are successfully mating with other populations in connected areas of land.

Genetic techniques can be more effective in evaluating migration and mating patterns. One of the most important goals of developing a corridor is to increase migration in certain animal species. By looking at a population's gene flow, researchers can understand the genetic consequences of corridors[11] via information about the migration patterns of an entire population instead of the movements of a few individuals. From these techniques, researchers can better understand whether or not habitat corridors are increasing biodiversity.

Stephen Mech and James Hallett introduce an additional reason genetic techniques are more useful; they “measure average migration rates over time, which reveals the effects of fragmentation of several generations and is not as sensitive to current population sizes as mark-recapture studies are.”[11] For example, when a population is extremely small, mark-recapture is almost impossible.


According to new research, wildlife corridors are best built with a certain degree of randomness or asymmetry, rather than built symmetrically. The research was conducted at the University of California, Davis.[12]

Wildlife corridors are susceptible to

ranges; however, they are also vital as connection corridors for smaller animals and plants as well as ecological connectors to provide a ‟rescue effect’’.[13]


Both the safety of animals and humans can be achieved through the creation of corridors. In Alberta, Canada, an overpass was constructed to keep animals off the busy highway which crosses a national park. The top of the bridge is covered in the native grass of the area. fences were also put on either side of the overpass to help guide animals in the right direction.[14]

In Southern California, 15 underpasses and drainage culverts were observed to see how many animals used them as corridors. They proved to be especially effective on wide-ranging species such as carnivores, mule deer, small mammals, and reptiles, even though the corridors were not intended specifically for animals. Researchers also learned that factors such as surrounding habitat, underpass dimensions, and human activity also played a role in how much use they got. From this experiment, much was learned about what would constitute a successful habitat corridor.[15]

In South Carolina, five remnant areas of land were monitored; one was put in the center and four were surrounding it. Then, a corridor was put between one of the remnants and the center. Butterflies that were placed in the center habitat were two to four times more likely to move to the connected remnant rather than the disconnected ones. Furthermore, male holly plants were placed in the center region, and female holly plants in the connected region increased by 70 percent in seed production compared to those plants in the disconnected region. The most impressive dispersal into the connected region, though, was through bird droppings. Far more plant seeds were dispersed through bird droppings in the corridor-connected patch of land.[16]

There have also been positive effects on the rates of transfer and interbreeding in vole populations. A control population in which voles were confined to their core habitat with no corridor was compared to a treatment population in their core habitat with passages that they could use to move to other regions. Females typically stayed and mated within their founder population, but the rate of transfer through corridors in the males was very high. Researchers are not sure why the females did not move about as much, but it is apparent that the corridor effectively transferred at least some of the species to another location for breeding.[17]

In 2001, a wolf corridor was restored through a golf course in

wolves to pass through the course. After this restoration, wolves passed through the corridor frequently.[18] This is one of the first demonstrations that corridors are used by wildlife, and can be effective in decreasing fragmentation. Earlier studies had been criticised for failing to demonstrate that corridor restoration leads to a change in wildlife behaviour.[19]

Elephant corridor

Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that allow elephants to move from one habitat patch to another. There are 88 identified elephant corridors in India.

In Africa, Botswana houses the largest number of free-roaming elephant herds.[20] Elephants Without Borders (EWB) studies the movement of elephants is working to gain community support of local community corridors, so that elephants and humans can co-exist.[21]

Major wildlife corridors


Some animal species are much more apt to use habitat corridors than others depending on what their migration and mating patterns are like. For example, many cases of birds and butterflies successfully using corridors have been observed. Less successful stories have come out of mammals such as deer. How effective a corridor is may simply rely on what species it is directed towards.[20] Corridors created with birds in mind may be more successful because they are highly migratory, to begin with.

Human interference is almost inevitable with the quickly increasing population. The goal behind habitat corridors shows the most hope for solving habitat fragmentation and restoring biodiversity as much as possible. Although there are many positives and negatives, there may be enough positives to continue studying and improving corridors. It is truly difficult to say whether corridors are the solution to increasing biodiversity, because each one must be judged on its own. Each corridor has its own set of standards and goals that may set it apart from another one.


A major downfall to habitat corridors is that not much information has been gathered about their success. Due to the lack of positive data, many agencies will not allow corridors to be established because they are unsure of their effectiveness. Another problem with corridors is that they are not as useful as simply preserving land so that it cannot be fragmented. However, it is becoming very difficult to set aside land for nature reserves when road-building, industry, and urban sprawl are all competing for space.

Even if corridors are sought as a solution, it does not necessarily mean that animals will use them. Especially in the case of overpasses, research shows that animals do not like to use them to get to another remnant area of land. Usually overpasses are built over busy highways, and many species are too timid to expose themselves in front of all of the traffic. As more roads and buildings arise, there becomes less space to try to preserve.

Habitat corridors need to be species-specific (not every kind of animal will use every kind of corridor) and corridors can be barriers to some species. For instance plants may use road verges as corridors however some mammals will not cross roads to reach a suitable habitat.

When a corridor is implemented, many times development is so close by, that it becomes difficult to build a wide enough passage. There is usually a very limited amount of space available for corridors, so buffers are not usually added in.[4] Without a buffer zone, corridors become susceptible to harmful outside factors from city streets, suburb development, rural homes, forestry, cropland, and feedlots.

Unfortunately, another limiting factor to the implementation of corridors is money. With such inconclusive data about the effectiveness of connecting land, it is difficult to get the proper funding. Those who would be in charge of the corridor design and construction would ask such questions as, “What if the corridors affect species negatively?” and “What if they actually aid in the spread of disease and catastrophic events?” Furthermore, there is a possibility that corridors could not only aid in the dispersal of native organisms, but invasive ones, as well.[34] If invasive species take over an area they could potentially threaten another species, even to the point of extinction.

Although wildlife corridors have been proposed as solutions to habitat and wildlife population fragmentation, there is little evidence that they are broadly useful as a conservation strategy for all biodiversity in non-developed or less-developed areas, compared to protecting connectivity as the relevant ecological attribute. In other words, corridors may be a useful meme for conservation planning/ers, but the concept has less meaning to wildlife species themselves. Very few wildlife follow easily identified "corridors" or "linkages" (e.g., using computer modeling), instead most species meander and opportunistically move through landscapes during daily, seasonal, and dispersal movement behavior. Wildlife corridors may be useful in highly developed landscapes where they are easily identified as the last remaining and available habitat.


Habitat corridors may be defenseless against a number of outside influences, but they are still an efficient way of increasing biodiversity. Strips of land aid in the movement of various animal species and pollen and seed dispersal, which is an added benefit to the intended one.[16] For example, when insects carrying pollen or birds carrying seeds travel to another area, plant species effectively get transported, as well.

Another positive aspect of corridors is that they allow both animals and humans to occupy virtually the same areas of land, and thus co-exist where without the corridor this would not be possible. Large animals such as bears can be attracted to residential areas in search of food due to lack of natural resources because of habitat fragmentation. A corridor would provide a passage for the bears to forage in other locations, so that they would not pose as much of a threat to humans.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ "Planning Portal - Glossary: G". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008.
  2. ^ Bond, M. (2003). "Principles of Wildlife Corridor Design. Center for Biological Diversity" (PDF). Biologivaldiversity.org. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  3. .
  4. ^ a b Rosenberg, Daniel K.; Noon, Barry R.; Meslow, E. Charles (1995). "Towards a definition of wildlife corridor". Integrating People and Wildlife for a Sustainable Future. Proceedings of the First International Wildlife Congress: 436–9. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  5. ^ "What is a landscape?". Archived from the original on 13 August 2020.
  6. ^
    PMID 12239344
  7. ^ . Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b Beier, P., Loe, S. (1992). "In My Experience: A Checklist for Evaluating Impacts to Wildlife Movement Corridors". Wildlife Society Bulletin. 20 (4): 434–440.
  9. ISSN 0006-3207
  10. . Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  11. ^ .
  12. ^ "Designing wildlife corridors". Sciencedaily.com. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  13. ^ Julieta Benitez-Malvido;Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez (2008). "Habitat fragmentation, edge effects and biological corridors in tropical ecosystems". Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  14. ^ Semrad 2007
  15. ^ Dole et al. 2003
  16. ^ a b Susan Milius (22 October 2002). "Insects, pollen, seeds travel wildlife corridors". Science News.
  17. ISSN 0012-9658
    . Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  18. .
  19. .
  20. ^ a b Fran. "Elephant corridors in Botswana to protect the herds". Your African Safari. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Elephants Without Borders Living with elephants". Elephantswithourborders.org. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Paseo Pantera Project". Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  23. ^ https://wwfeu.awsassets.panda.org/img/original/ecoregion.jpg
  24. ^ "New corridor links Amur tiger habitats in Russia and China". WWF. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  25. ^ "Panthera". Panthera.org. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  26. ^ "European Green Belt Initiative". Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  27. ^ "Siju-Rewak Corridor". CONSERVATION CORRIDOR. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  28. ^ Ecologische Hoofdstructuur
  29. ISSN 0971-751X
    . Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  30. ^ Staff, India Infra Hub (25 February 2020). "Why This Elevated Stretch On National Highway 44 Is A Hit With Animals In Pench Tiger Reserve". India Infra Hub. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  31. ^ Singh A.P.; Singh A.K.; Mishra D.K.; Bora P.; Sharma A. (2010). Ensuring safe access to wildlife in Lumding Reserve Forest, Assam, India, Mitigating the impacts of up-gradation of Doboka-Silchar National Highway (NH54E) (PDF). WWF-India.
  32. ^ SHIVANI AZAD (18 January 2019). "Elephant underpass in Rajaji hanging for 9 yrs, NGT orders NHAI to deposit Rs 2 cr". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  33. ^ Chauhan, Priya (1 April 2021). "26 Important Wildlife Corridors Providing Safe Passage to Species". Planet Custodian. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  34. S2CID 16770640
  35. ^ "Northfield Habitat Corridors". De-chant.com. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  36. ^ "First Evidence That Wildlife Corridors Boost Biodiversity, Study Says". News.nationalgeographic.com. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2015.

External links