Improving connectivity for biodiversity across the City of Melbourne: a framework for evaluating and planning management actions

Report prepared by the National Environmental Science Program – Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub for the City of Melbourne
Landscape design Land use Internet connectivity Habitat Melbourne

A key consideration for maintaining biodiversity in urban spaces is the capacity for species to disperse across the landscape. One of the ways this can be evaluated is by measuring how “connected” different patches of habitat are across the urban matrix. There are two main types of habitat connectivity: structural, measuring just the available habitat; and functional, which accounts for the ability of different species to move across the landscape.

The following report contains a methodological framework to measure habitat connectivity for a series of key animal groups across an urban landscape. The report contains a summary of the recent science for measuring habitat connectivity, things to consider when using this approach and worked examples. A suit of GIS files containing final maps will also be included in with this report.

Chapter 1 details the aims of the project, some background information and how the methodology was developed.

Chapter 2 quantifies the current habitat connectivity within the City of Melbourne, centred around the functional connectivity for seven key animal groups.

Chapter 3 demonstrates two hypothetical management scenarios where this framework could be used: a major road development and tree canopy improvement regime.

Chapter 4 introduces limitations of this methodology and the issues to consider when using the framework.

The appendices contain (1) more methodological details and also a step-by-step set of instructions for repeating the connectivity assessment; (2) details of the functional connectivity groups used in the report; (3) a list of data files included with the report and (4) a glossary of terms.

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