Wildlife linkage areas: an integrated approach for Canada lynx
Conservation planning for forest carnivores now appropriately includes management considerations for habitat connectivity at a landscape scale level. We provided direction for connectivity and linkage area mapping in the Canada Lynx Conservation Assessment and Strategy, 2nd edition, August, 2000. We have drafted “lynx linkage areas” by conducting interagency meetings in the western states within the historic Canada lynx range and incorporating pertinent research. Participants in these meetings included representatives from state wildlife agencies and state departments of transportation, and federal agencies including Federal Highway Administration, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, tribal governments, private conservation groups and others. One of the benefits of this approach was to receive professional input and raise the level of awareness of the importance of wildlife connectivity and linkage areas across a diverse group of managers. We viewed this approach as an ongoing process that involved incorporation of information gathered at the meetings and subsequent production of draft maps that have been sent back to participants for review. The maps representa first effort to identify linkage areas, which can be further refined and evaluated in subsequent planning and research efforts. We will present the working maps of Canada lynx linkage areas for the Northern and Southern Rocky Mountains.