Identifying a Potential Ecological Corridor in Adirondack Park, New York Using a GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Evaluation Model and Least-Cost Pathway Analysis
Minimizing impacts and disturbance on wildlife is becoming a greater concern due to the rapidly decreasing wildlife populations in many areas of the world. Ecological corridors have been shown in many cases to reduce habitat fragmentation and the resulting impacts, including edge effects and population declines. These corridors are of great interest due to the growing number of critically endangered animals and species at risk; thus, there is the potential to minimize human impacts on wildlife in fragmented landscapes by proper implementation of corridors. The aim of this research is to develop a GIS-based Multi-Criteria Evaluation in order to appropriately weigh constraints and criteria within the study area of the Adirondack Mountains. Land use practices, road networks and key information relating to migratory land mammals is utilized in order to determine suitability scores and requirements for the corridor. Creating a proposed ecological corridor also requires that a Least-Cost Pathway Analysis be conducted to create a pathway throughout Adirondack Park. The Adirondack Moose is the largest land mammal living within the park, and therefore many habitat and migration necessities for the moose are determined suitable and also applicable to smaller land mammals. Because focus is not placed on a single species, this study is transferable to future locations with issues of a similar nature.