Land-use Changes on Connectivity in the Great Plains
This webinar was conducted as part of the Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, co-hosted by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the FWS National Conservation Training Center.
Originally dominated by prairies, the Southern Great Plains is now one of the largest grain, meat and natural gas producing regions in the United States. As a consequence of these and other human activities, such as fire suppression and urban development, vast areas of grasslands have been lost. This has had a tremendous negative effect on plant and animal populations (and distributions), especially for those more sensitive to habitat fragmentation. In this project we used different approaches to investigate the extent to which species have been, are and will be affected by land-use changes in the region. Specifically, we studied current trends across terrestrial vertebrate taxa using a simple model of species response to habitat loss and fragmentation. We predicted the potential impacts of land use changes on functional connectivity and matrix permeability under two scenarios of future land-use changes within the IPCC-SRES framework. Lastly, we analyzed the synergistic effect of climate and habitat fragmentation on the distribution of six grassland-obligate bird species in Oklahoma. This project was supported by the South Central Climate Science Center.