Connectivity Analysis Software for Estimating Linkage Priority
Linkage Priority (LP) is an ArcGIS tool that helps quantify the relative conservation priority of each linkage in a landscape.
LP is run after linkages are created using the Linkage Pathways tool of the Linkage Mapper Toolbox (McRae and Kavanagh 2011). (The implementation of this original Linkage Mapper tool is hereafter symbolized as “LM”). There are six criteria that combine in a weighted sum to determine the relative priority of each linkage. An example criterion is the relative permeability of a linkage (i.e., the mean resistance values along the least cost path). One of the criteria, the relative core area values of the two cores being connected, is composed of five sub-criteria combined in a weighted sum. The logic of this is that if two core areas are very valuable, then the linkage is too, all else being equal. See the section “Using Linkage Priority” for more details.
Prototype applications of various beta versions of the Linkage Priority Tool have been performed in six regions (Sierra Nevada mountains, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County, West Mojave, Sacramento Valley, and Modoc Plateau), with outputs available on databasin.org and reports and an publications in preparation. In the last three of these studies, climate was considered in three ways in determining priority: (1) quantifying which linkages best facilitated long-term species range shifts, (2) which core areas provided refuge from climate change, and (3) which core areas contained more climate micro-refugia for withstanding climate change.