Wildlife Corridor Basics
Wildlife corridors are features that connect two or more otherwise isolated patches of habitat. Corridors can consist of natural features such as vegetation, water, or rock, or can be made by people. Corridors are vital for wildlife to access available habitats. They allow animals to travel safely from one area to another, but may also provide food or other necessities as well. In many cases, corridors already exist and simply need to be enhanced, or they can be created using idle areas on a farm or property.
More than 800 organizations in the U.S. and Canada are now using corridors to create webs of protected habitat between Yellowstone National Park and the Yukon.In 2006, Damschen and Orrock and their colleagues published the first definitive evidence that corridors are effective in extending plant biodiversity in fragmented large-scale habitats in a paper published in Science.
Types of Wildlife Corridors (From Ky. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife)
- Woodland:the most obvious corridors needed across most of Kentucky are those connecting isolated woodlots. Because of the interspersion of pasture or hayland, cropland, residential or industrial development, or other land uses, patches of woodland are often isolated as islands or separated from neighboring woodlands.
- Grassland:Isolated patches of grassland are not often thought of as needing connecting corridors to be most beneficial for wildlife. However, just as with woodlands, isolated grassland patches may not be useful to animals. Wildlife need travel and protective cover between grassland areas to effectively use them. Pasture or hayland is the most common grassland type in Kentucky. While crop fields offer cover during part of the year, after harvest there may be no cover connecting permanent grassland areas.
- Shrubland:The principles that apply to woodland or grassland corridors also apply to corridors used to connect isolated shrubby areas. Cedar thickets, old field areas that have a lot of shrubs or saplings, or areas that have been planted to shrubs or seedlings should likewise be connected by desirable plant cover corridors.
- Wetland:Swamps, sloughs, and similar wetland habitats normally cannot be connected by identical habitat. In most situations, it simply is not feasible to create continuous shallow water wetlands. Corridors designed to connect wetlands should thus be focused on providing suitable vegetative cover between isolated wetland habitats.
- Non-Vegetative:Natural and non-natural barriers to wildlife movements can sometimes be overcome with other habitat modifications. Roads that bisect breeding grounds for frogs and salamanders can devastate the amphibians’ local populations without suitable crossings. Larger animals such as bears and deer may pose threats to human safety as well as being jeopardized themselves if large and busy roads cut through their habitats. These problems can be remedied in part with human-made corridors.
Significant corridor projects in Kentucky include the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor in Eastern Kentucky and the Big Rivers Corridor project in Western Kentucky.
New Mexico Signs the Wildlife Corridors Act (April 2019)
- New Mexico: NM S.B.228 Wildlife Corridors Act (Signed into law on March 2019)
- New Hampshire: S.B.200 Relative to Wildlife Corridors (active in the 2019 session)
- California: S.B. 45: Wildfire, Drought and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020