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Agri-environment scheme contribution to ecological connectivity - LM04100

The connectivity of a landscape is a measure of how easy it is for individuals to move through the landscape while being provided with the resources they require. Increasing connectivity is a key policy aim for the UK government as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan (Defra 2018), and agri-environment schemes have an important role in delivering this in agricultural landscapes. Agri-environment schemes (AES) can impact various aspects of ecological networks across different scales, principally through the creation, restoration or maintenance of habitats. These three techniques enable the maintenance or improvement of habitat patch quality (and therefore availability of resources); increases in patch size and increase the links between individual habitat patches, acting as 'stepping stones'. Schemes may also enhancing ecological networks through smaller scale management options which act to soften the matrix of agricultural land between conservation sites, reducing the extent to which agriculture represents a barrier to movement.
The aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which agri-environment schemes are located to improve ecological connectivity. The specific objectives of this project are to:
1. Review approaches to measuring ecological connectivity, specifically considering agri-environment schemes.
2. Assess the contribution of AES implementation to landscape ecological connectivity, considering both structural (habitat) connectivity and functional (mobile species) connectivity.
3.Provide recommendations for ground-truthing and future targeting of findings
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM04100_AES_Contribution_Ecological _Connectivity_FRP   (2258k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM04100_AES_Contribution_Ecological_Connectivity_TPS   (179k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2019

To: 2020

Cost: £87,720
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental policy              
Environmental Stewardship              
Landscape Ecology              
Wildlife Management