Establishing ecological networks for habitat conservation in the case of Çeşme–Urla Peninsula, Turkey
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The study involves the Çeşme–Urla Peninsula, where habitat fragmentation and loss, which threaten biological diversity, have become an urgent matter of concern in recent decades. The study area has been subjected to anthropogenic pressures and alterations due to ongoing and impending land uses. Therefore, ecological networks, as an appropriate way to deal with habitat fragmentation and loss and to improve ecological quality, were identified in the study area as one of the early attempts in the country to maintain its rich biodiversity. In this sense, core areas and ecological linkages as primary components of ecological networks were established on the basis of sustaining natural habitats. A GIS-based model was created to identify core areas and to facilitate the ecological connectivity. The modeling process for core areas and corridors combined 14 and 21 different variables, respectively. The variables were used as environmental inputs in the model, and all analyses were materialized in ArcGIS 9.2 using grid functions of image analysis and spatial analyst modules. As a result, six core areas and 36 corridor alternatives were materialized. Furthermore, some recommendations for the implementation and management of the proposed ecological networks were revealed and discussed.
KeywordsEcological networks Core areas Spatial linkages Çeşme–Urla Peninsula
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