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MEASURING SIMULTANEOUSLY HABITAT LOSS AND FRAGMENTATION DUE TO INFRASTRUCTURES: A NOVEL HABITAT FUNCTIONALITY METRIC

IENE
Interview with Bram Van Moorter (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research)
IENE 2016 conference (Lyon,France)

The ecological impact of transportation infrastructures is often considerably higher than their mere footprint in terms of direct habitat loss. Roads and railways can represent barriers to movements preventing access to potentially suitable habitat. When assessing the total effect of a given transportation infrastructure, it is crucial to quantify both direct habitat loss, and indirect habitat loss due to fragmentation. We developed a novel Habitat Functionality Metric, HFM, to quantify simultaneously the total effect of habitat loss and fragmentation. The metric is calculated using animal movement data (GPS), based on a graph theoretical approach. We believe that our approach represents a major step forward towards a more comprehensive assessment of the ecological impacts of transport infrastructures, as it combines and synthesizes both effects in terms of habitat loss and fragmentation.

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