The Ecosystem Services of Connectivity

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Eric Butler, Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, Cat de Rivera, Sahan Dissanayake, Carole Hardy, Dorothy Horn, Ben Huffine, Amanda Temple, Mike Vermeulen, Hailey Wallace

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Connectivity is critical to maintaining ecological functions and benefits in human-modified landscapes, including urban areas. However, the literature on this topic has been limited by inconsistent terminology and methods, and largely omits human access to nature and its benefits as a form of connectivity. We build upon previous theory to define four distinct but interrelated categories of connectivity (habitat, geophysical, eco-social, and landscape) and use the Ecosystem Services framework to review the socio-ecological benefits which depend on them. There are overlaps, conflicts, and synergies among connectivity categories and their associated services and disservices. Identifying the services which arise from these four categories of connectivity, and how they interact, can help build a common understanding of connectivity to maximize its benefits, improve understanding of complex socio-ecological systems across disciplines, and develop more holistic decision-making processes. We also briefly discuss a framework to incorporate connectivity more effectively into urban planning and ecological stewardship efforts.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program