A wildlife corridor (not to be confused with the place you ends up in while being late to class) is an area that is specifically designated to connect two or more populations of wildlife that have been separated by human population, activities and structures such as cities, roads or construction (Esparza McPherson, 2009). Corridors are used to solve the problem that results from human encroachment of animal population, i.e. habitat fragmentation. Human activities have directly and indirectly endangered bio diversity. Wildlife corridors have been used a possible solution. The research on the use of wildlife corridors remains scanty (Spellerberg Sawyer, 1999). Indeed, their use is mainly based on intuition, rather than an empirical research. This has resulted in mixed results, in their use and effectiveness (Tewksbury et al., 2002).
The primary goal for the use of wildlife corridors is to increase bio diversity (Bennet, V. Rylah A. Rylah, 1990). Human encroachment in animal habitats causes these habitats to break up. This results in the entrapment of these animals into these areas as they avoid a human contact. Populations of the animals living here become unstable, and species become endangered. Corridors increase bio diversity by reducing in-breeding. In-breeding leads to passing of defective genes and traits to future generations of population (Bennet, V. Rylah A. Rylah, 1990). Corridors enable the movement of animals from one habitat to another and, thus, assure a genetic diversity (Esparza McPherson, 2009). Secondly, wildlife corridors enable animals to colonize new areas. Through colonization, animals are able to obtain food and natural resources that are not available in their original habitat. Access to food and natural resources stabilizes the species population and increases bio diversity in the area. Lastly, wildlife corridors allow for the migration of animals (Bennet, V. Rylah A. Rylah, 1990). Some animals periodically migrate to new areas for breeding or food. Corridors allow for animal passage without arising of the human-wildlife conflict.
Population Biology Theory
The resources, such as food and water, are finite, and the environment is not optimal (Harper, 2010). The population of a species depends on the availability of resources and changes in the prevailing environment (species habitat). These variables affect population by altering the rates of birth and death and also dispersion of the species. The amount of resources and nature of environmental condition allow a particular habitat to have a certain carrying capacity. As a rule, some populations will increase at a high rate and then level off, while others will fill up the space available. Changes that influence populations include the availability of food, which is from the intra specific competition of the species. Another factor that alters population is the emergence of diseases (Harper, 2010). The lack of space and high population leads to the accumulation of waste in the habitat. Population is also checked through inter species interaction (Crawley, 2009). Predators and prey population influence the population of a species.
Biodiversity Situation in Southern California
Southern California is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. Its forest soils are the most diverse in the world. There are as many organisms under the soils as there are animals on the surface (Hogan, 2011). There are 961 native vertebrate species, of which 65% are only found in Southern California. There are also over 3500 plants, of which 61% are found nowhere else in the world (Hogan, 2011).
This diversity is, however, facing a danger because of human activities. The state has one of the fastest growing populations, and its economy is substantially vibrant even on a global scale (California Biodiversity Council, 2008). Urbanization, pollution and habitat fragmentation, large scale agriculture, invasive species and oil mining are among the greatest dangers facing the species. Wetlands, woodlands and maritime sage scrub have been drastically reduced. They face land filling and diversion of water sources, as well as logging. Conservation of these areas has been undertaken through the official protection, and many species are protected by the state.
Bennett, A. F., Rylah V., Rylah, A.(1990). Habitatcorridors: Their role in wildlife management and conservation. Melbourne, Australia: Dept. of Conservation and Environment, Victoria.
Carlifornia Biodiversity Council. (2008). An educator's guide to biodiversity. Retrieved from http://biodiversity.ca.gov/Biodiversity/what_is.html
Crawley, M. (2009). Natural enemies: The population biology of predators, parasites and diseases. Chichester: John Wiley Sons.
Esparza, A. X., McPherson, G. R. (2009). The planner's guide to natural resource conservation: The science of land development beyond the metropolitan fringe. New York, NY: Springer.
Harper, J. L. (2010). Population biology of plants. Caldwell, NJ: Blackburn Press.
Hogan C.M. (2011). Biological diversity in the California Floristic Province. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150634/
Spellerberg, I. F., Sawyer, J. W. D. (1999). An introduction to applied biogeography. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Tewksbury, J.J., Levey, D.J., Haddad, N.M., Sargent, S., Orrock, J.L., Weldon, A., Danielson, B.J., Brinkerhoff, J., Damschen, E.I., Townsend, P. (2002). Corridors affect plants, animals, and their interactions in fragmented landscapes. Ecology, 99 (20): 1223-1226.