Sustainability, Vol. 13, Pages 10833: Implication of Buffer Zones Delineation Considering the Landscape Connectivity and Influencing Patch Structural Factors in Nature Reserves
Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su131910833
Since habitat fragmentation results in species losses worldwide, considering the influence of buffer zones on the maintenance of connectivity provides a new perspective for buffer delimitation. In our study, the implications of buffer zones around nature reserves were studied at four sites in Fuzhou from the perspective of landscape connectivity based on a distance threshold of 1 km. We applied Graph-based connectivity indices at the landscape level and patch level to reveal the overall connectivity and patterns of change in patch importance for maintaining connectivity with various buffer zones. Based on the results of these analyses, we showed the relationship between structural factors and changes in patch importance by Spearman correlation analysis and redundancy analysis. The results indicate that in the sites with smaller habitat proportion (HP), the connectivity is relatively lower, and the changes in patch importance will be greater when the buffer zone increases. Different buffer zone sizes are suggested in four sites to maximize its benefits. Relatively small patches with high shape complexity and close proximity to patches outside the boundary contribute greatly to connectivity by acting as stepping stones.
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