Conceptual steps for designing wildlife corridors

The process of designing corridors is frustrating, because there are many decisions to make throughout. After spending way too many meetings arguing over the details related to designing corridors, and getting a few too many bruises on our foreheads from repeatedly banging our heads against our desks, we thought maybe we could save you some of the agony.

For a printable version of this material, download the Conceptual Steps PDF on our downloads page!

There are many potential ways to design wildlife corridors, ranging from a hand drawn map, to acquiring any possible land between two blocks of habitat, to the GIS-intensive modeling discussed throughout the site. Neither of these techniques are necessarily better, and all are probably optimal in some situations. If we could stress one thing, it would be to use modeling as an aid to think about how to best design coridors for a landscape, not as a replacement for thinking! Don't model because you think you have to. Don't expect to get the truth. Expect to get frustrated, and come up with more questions than answers.

Do you want to design a corridor within one habitat type? Then our tools and methods probably won't help you too much. How about a 30-m urban greenway? Again, GIS modeling might not be the best approach. Our methods, together with the CorridorDesigner ArcGIS tools, are best suited for designing corridors in a heterogenous landscape at a regional (e.g. 2 - 500 km long) scale. We have found GIS-based corridor modeling to be a useful tool which helps us design the best corridors we can, but it's certainly not the only game in town!