Ecological corridors: what are they, types and importance - Summary

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Ecological corridors, also called habitat corridors, movement corridors and green corridors, are a valuable tool that is often implemented in plans for the conservation and preservation of flora and fauna species. While the term ecological corridor is mostly used by conservation biology, other disciplines also make use of the term, such as landscape ecology and agroecology.

Particularly in this article by Green Ecologist, we will leave the other disciplines aside and we will delve into conservation biology to know in depth everything about what are ecological corridors, their types and importance. If the topic is to your liking, do not hesitate to continue reading this interesting post.

What are ecological corridors

In a few words, we can say that ecological corridors are regions of the territory whose objective is connect protected or relict areas, that is to say, remnant areas of ecosystems. In itself, the main purpose of ecological corridors is based on maintaining the continuity of biological processes. More specifically, from the corridors, an attempt is made to generate safe migration and dispersal routes for biodiversity, as well as limiting the effects of fragmentation of ecosystems and favoring the interrelation between populations of different species.

In most cases, the runners are part of the management of the protected area systems. In such systems, it is emphasized that the most successful corridors are those that facilitate the natural patterns of species migration. However, the effectiveness and impact of the corridors will depend on the particular species and the landscape in which the corridor is established.

On the other hand, ecological corridors are usually designed, mainly, for the conservation of terrestrial flora and fauna species, because their respective dispersal and migration patterns are more studied. Meanwhile, its applicability for aquatic protected areas is still in doubt, since the route of movement of species is less known and, in addition, it is more difficult to control some aspects such as, for example, pollution.

Despite the great advantages that corridors present in relation to the conservation of species, some scientists believe that ecological corridors facilitate the spread of pests, diseases and exotic species, as well as they constitute a 'deadly weapon' for living beings , since individuals in corridors are more likely to be captured by predators or poachers than in protected areas.

We recommend you read this other article to learn more about this topic What are protected natural areas.

Types of ecological corridors

With respect to classification of ecological corridors, it depends on the vision of the different authors. Indeed, some authors classify corridors by their structural characteristics, especially by their shape and size. In this case, they define corridors as elongated strips of land that present, in proportion, more edge per unit area. In contrast, other authors classify corridors by their functions and, consequently, they perceive ecological corridors as an area of the landscape that allows the movement and survival of the species, but not its birth rate.

Taking into account both issues, that is, the functions for which the corridors were designed as well as their size, ecological corridors have been classified by the World Conservation Fund (WWF, for its acronym in English). ) What:

  • Macro-corridors: those that have a width greater than 5 kilometers and have the objective of restoring the connections of different geographical regions.
  • Biological corridors: those that have a width that varies in the range of 1 to 5 kilometers. They are created in order to maintain two connected ecosystems.
  • Conservation corridors: those that are less than 1 kilometer wide and their purpose is to establish a connection between relics, mainly when the ecosystem is deeply fragmented.

Importance of ecological corridors

Their importance lies in the enormous benefits of ecological corridors around the biodiversity conservation. Among its many uses we find:

  • The corridors allow the movement of living beings, favoring the search for food and, also, the gene exchange between individuals of a species.
  • In this way, thanks to corridors, populations can increase their size and even increase population genetic variability, two fundamental factors to reduce the chances of extinction of a species.
  • Likewise, corridors are becoming increasingly important as a result of the effects of climate change. With the increase in global temperature, many species migrate to higher latitudes and altitudes in search of habitats with more suitable living conditions.
  • Under this premise and for the purposes of biodiversity conservation, it is and will be useful to develop ecological corridors in, at least, those predictable migratory routes, such as coastlines, river valleys and mountain ranges.

Finally, we encourage you to learn more about which animals migrate and why.

If you want to read more articles similar to Ecological corridors: what are they, types and importance, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

  • Environmental glossary: biological corridors, nature passages. (2022). WWF. Extracted from:
  • Primack, R., Rozzi, R., Feinsinger, P., Dirzo, R., & Massardo, F. (1998). Fundamentals of biological conservation. Latin American perspectives.
  • Szpeiner, A., Martínez-Ghersa, M. A., & Ghersa, C. (2007). Pampean agriculture, biological corridors and biodiversity. Science Today, 17 (101), 38-46.
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