Overview of pre-modeling steps for designing corridors

Before you pop open ArcGIS...before you start running models...before you start making maps...take a long hard look at your landscape, and ask yourself some questions:

Designing corridors is not about pushing buttons!

  • Why do you need to maintain connectivity in your analysis area?
  • What are you trying to connect?
  • What are the land ownership/stewardship patterns in the area?
  • What are the threats?
  • What does the land cover look like?
  • What types of species occur in your analysis area?
  • Who are the major stakeholders who you should work with in your study?

If you can't first answer these questions, you probably shouldn't be designing corridors. To design a successful corridor, remember that the problem is greater than knowing what buttons to push in GIS, and the solution requires a lot more than GIS, computers, and maps.

In the following sections, we address these questions you must tackle before designing corridors. We urge the reader and analyst to always keep these questions in mind throughout the corridor design process. While the details are enticing, without a clear focus on the big picture, you're probably just wasting your time.