SDE Feature Class
boundaries, linkage network, geoscientificInformation, habitat suitability, location, Bay Area, least-cost corridor, California, patch configuration, patch size
The primary objective of this effort is to identify lands essential to maintain or restore functional connectivity among wildlands for all species or ecological processes of interest in the greater Bay Area. The large landscape blocks are areas of high ecological integrity that build upon the existing conservation network in the region.
The Critical Linkages: Bay Area & Beyond project was initiated in 2010 to identify areas that are vital for connectivity within the nine-county Bay Area and beyond to ensure the region is connected to the larger landscapes to the north and south. Critical Linkages complements the Conservation Lands Network by explicitly considering connectivity between large wildlands. For the most part, the results of the two analyses are congruent, and reinforce each other - lands chosen for their intrinsic biodiversity value in the Conservation Lands Network were either identified as highly permeable to wildlife movement or captured as high quality habitat in the Large Landscape Blocks delineated for the Critical Linkages Project. The Critical Linkages approach also identified key bottlenecks or choke-points between the Landscape Units (the geographic units developed by the Conservation Lands Network). An update of the Conservation Lands Network is planned for 2014. During this update, the data and information generated by Critical Linkages will enhance the Conservation Lands Network by capturing priority areas for maintaining and improving connectivity in the region. Critical Linkages: Bay Area & Beyond (Critical Linkages) identifies 14 landscape level connections that together with the Conservation Lands Network provide a comprehensive plan for such a regional network. Critical Linkages were designed to preserve landscape level processes and maintain connected wildlife populations from Mendocino National Forest in the north to the beaches of the Santa Lucia Range on Los Padres National Forest and Hearst Ranch in the south, and eastward to the southern end of the Inner Coast Range. These 14 linkages of crucial biological value could be irretrievably compromised by development projects over the next decade unless immediate conservation action occurs. These landscape linkages and the wildlands they connect are meant to serve as the backbone of a regional wildlands network to which smaller wildlands can be connected.
Produced by Science and Collaboration for Connected Wildlands, Fair Oaks, CA, www.scwildlands.org
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