Monitoring and optimization of habitat connectivity



The pilot case on biodiversity aims to monitor habitat connectivity indices for Catalonia from 1987 to the present for the main habitat categories. We are integrating different sources of data: land use and land cover maps obtained from remote sensing satellites, species occurrence observations, also including those extrated from citizen science initiatives and data coming from IoT sensors on the ground.

This will be done insuring by design the semantic interoperability of the infrastructure and compliance with the FAIR principles and OGC Standards. The results will be made available through a reproducible API presented through a user-friendly Graphic User Interface that allows comparing different connectivity scenarios. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate how this kind of GDDS-derived tool could greatly assist in evaluation, monitoring and decision making by local and regional administrations.

What is habitat connectivity?

Habitat connectivity describes how the landscape facilitates or impedes movement of species among resource patches (Taylor et al. 1993). Therefore, the type, amount, and arrangement of habitat use on a landscape may influence the movement and, ultimately, population dynamics and community structure. Habitat connectivity combines the physical structure of a landscape with the organism’s response to that structure (Taylor et al. 2010).

Example of connectivity map in the area of Barcelona. Image generated using MiraMon.

Map of connectivity for forest habitats in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Edited image obtained using MiraMon.


All of this makes connectivity a key indicator on the status of biodiversity. Our focus is specifically set on functional connectivity, that is, how well animals or plants can move across the borders and among patches.

Which kind of biodiversity do we tackle?

In this pilot case we are looking particularly at terrestrial species, i.e. all those that do not need the aquatic environment to carry out any vital process. We are particularly concerned about the situation of endangered species. The last “State of Nature in Catalonia 2020″ report stated that “wildlife populations in Catalonia have declined by an average of 25% in the last 18 years.

Why be concerned about connectivity?

Having improved habitat connectivity indices is essential to support the nature protection objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which recognizes the need to “create and integrate ecological corridors as part of a Trans-European Nature Network to prevent genetic isolation, allow for species migration and to maintain and enhance healthy ecosystems”.

Similarly, the Convention on Biodiversity states for a “net gain in connectivity and integrity of natural systems and that at least 20% of degraded terrestrial ecosystems are under restoration, ensuring connectivity and focusing on priority ecosystems”.

National, regional, and local governments require standardized metrics to make strategic decisions for protected areas, zoning, agricultural practices, land remediation, and international reporting.

Do you want to learn more?

Stay tuned with us!

We share all our news & events in our newsletter