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ECOLOGY OF WILDLIFE CORRIDOR DESIGN : initial concepts for Thailand

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Corridors have been adopted worldwide and now serve as a crucial tool for wildlife conservation planning by reducing the effects of habitat fragmentation. During the past several decades wildlife habitat in Thailand has become increasingly fragmented, potentially resulting in inbreeding and resource limitations for many species.  As a result, research scientists and land managers are paying serious attention to the idea of using corridors for wildlife conservation in Thailand.  However, the concept of using corridors for landscape linkage in Thailand requires further development, and in order to use corridors to conserve wildlife in Thailand careful planning and additional in-country research will be necessary.

In this paper we  review and provide some ecological background to the question of how to design a corridor for wildlife. We first introduce the process of forest fragmentation and its effects on animal movement patterns. Next, we discuss the broader conservation goals of corridor establishment and specific reasons for using corridors. We present different perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of using corridors to preserve ecological functions in complex landscapes. Finally, we illustrate the step-by-step conceptual process of finding a potential wildlife corridor and provide some practical thoughts and recommendations on how to set up a wildlife corridor in Thailand as a guideline for more in-depth studies in the near future.

Keywords: corridor design, wildlife corridor, forest fragmentation, functional corridor, landscape connectivity

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