Why We Need Natural Corridors (hint: they’re critical for conservation)

Why are natural corridors so important?

The Escarpment Corridor Alliance has incorporated the word ‘Corridor’ for a very specific reason; research is increasingly supporting the needed for ecologically connected networks is critical to the conservation of biological diversity, which provides irreplaceable functions and services, such as the provision of freshwater, food, climate regulation and pollination, just to name a few.

Ecological connectivity is the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth. This definition has been endorsed by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS, 2020) and underlines the urgency of protecting connectivity and its various elements, including dispersal, seasonal migration, fluvial processes and the connectivity that is inherently present in large wild areas.

Fragmentation caused by human activities continues to disrupt habitats, threatening biodiversity and impeding climate change adaptation. A large body of science and theory has been developing to address this problem in the context of protected areas.

About the Report

The purpose of the comprehensive Guidelines for Conserving Connectivity through Ecological Networks and Corridors is to consolidate this wealth of knowledge and best-available practices to support efforts to combat fragmentation. These Guidelines provide tools and examples (1) for applying ecological connectivity between protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and (2) for developing ecological networks for conservation. In doing so, these Guidelines advance best practices for protecting ecological networks that maintain, enhance and restore connectivity across both intact and human-dominated systems. As demand grows for innovative solutions at international, national and subnational levels, these Guidelines recommend formal recognition of ecological corridors to develop conservation networks and thus ensure effective conservation of biological diversity.

Key messages

  • Science overwhelmingly shows that interconnected protected areas and other areas for biological diversity conservation are much more effective than disconnected areas in human-dominated systems, especially in the face of climate change.
  • Although it is well understood that ecological connectivity is critical to the conservation of biodiversity, approaches to identify, retain and enhance ecological connectivity have been scattered and inconsistent. At the same time, countries on every continent, along with regional and local governments, have advanced various forms of corridor legislation and policy to enhance connectivity.
  • It is imperative that the world moves toward a coherent global approach for ecological connectivity conservation, and begins to measure and monitor the effectiveness of efforts to protect connectivity and thereby achieve functional ecological networks. To promote these goals, these Guidelines define ecological corridors as ways to identify, maintain, enhance and restore connectivity; summarize a large body of related science; and recommend means to formalize ecological corridors and networks.

Read the full Report on the importance of corridors here.


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