Wildlife Corridors

Wildlife corridors are necessary because they maintain biodiversity, allow populations to interbreed, and provide access to larger habitats.

Coastal estuaries, such as this one on the Khutze River on British Columbia's mainland coast, are vital as a spring-time food source for coastal grizzly bears.

Wildlife corridors connecting Core Reserves are crucial since they increase the effective amount of habitat that is available for species and effectively reverse habitat fragmentation. This is especially important for migratory animals and those with large home ranges. Larger habitats support greater Biodiversity, larger populations, and a wider range of food sources and shelter. They also allow populations to interbreed, improving long-term genetic viability. However, Wildlife Corridors cannot substitute for large areas of protected habitat like those in core reserve systems.

At the largest scale, Wildlife Corridors must be wide enough to allow easy movement for even the largest mammals, including grizzlies, cougars, and wolves. Widths of several miles are typical. However, Wildlife Corridors can serve at smaller scales to provide habitat connectivity for other species, including amphibians, fish, and birds. They are particularly beneficial along riparian corridors, where they provide both aquatic and terrestrial connectivity. In urban areas, they can provide significant Beauty and Play and important linkages in a highly fragmented landscape. Whenever possible, urban and rural parks and open spaces should be linked to form functional Wildlife Corridors, which can then be joined to outlying core reserves.

Since wildlife corridors are typically narrow and vulnerable, they must be managed with extreme caution. For instance, pesticide use next to a corridor might have destructive impacts on pollinators, in turn reducing plant diversity. In many cases, ecological Forestry, Agriculture, and other non-extractive land-uses can be made compatible with wildlife corridors with special management practices acknowledging the needs of species using the corridor.

When roads or other infrastructure cross a Wildlife Corridor, it is essential to maintain transportation connections that do not diminish the effectiveness of the corridor. Multiple intersecting wildlife corridors offering multiple pathways between core reserves provide important resiliency to a wildlands network.

Identify critical existing or potential wildlife corridors between core reserves, protect them, and mange them for ecosystem connectivity.