Interactions between people and wildlife have become more complicated as we've moved further into the West. Human development such as roads, railroads, and fences have created even more points of contact between our species and those around us, disrupting their normal behaviors and patterns.
Connectivity is a landscape level ecological characteristic that leads to a proper functioning and more resilient ecosystem. Connectivity enables wildlife to track changes in seasonal conditions, exploit forage quality and quantity across the landscape, return to or locate new breeding grounds, respond to stochastic events (i.e., fire, drought, snow, flooding) and, adapt to human development.
Corridors are essential to landscape connectivity, and wildlife use them on a daily basis to find food and water and on a seasonal basis to migrate or disperse to other areas. Landscape connectivity is threatened when habitat in corridors or seasonal ranges is lost due to conversion or other human development. In addition, linear features such as roads, fences and railroads fragment the landscape and incrementally reduce the ability for wildlife to move.
The National Wildlife Federation realizes that the best way to increase landscape connectivity is to work with all stakeholders across the landscape. Increasing connectivity on large scales requires working across land jurisdictions because wildlife is unconcerned with man-made borders. We use scientific approaches to identify migration corridors impediments to movement. Tools of the trade include remote cameras, GPS tracking devices, modelling approaches, and monitoring.
Fostering long-term relationships is essential, and we partner with state and federal agencies, landowners, universities and other conservation organizations to find on-the-ground solutions that support wildlife and people. See our recent report for Ranchers Stewardship Alliance that prioritizes habitat to sustain migratory pathways and winter range for big game in Northcentral Montana.
NWF is working with partners to reconnect and restore the pronghorns’ ancient routes and, with The Nature Conservancy, has created a media-rich, interactive StoryMap, On the Move, to highlight this iconic and timeless migration that is increasingly threatened by roads, fences, railroads and habitat conversion.
Moving Right Along
This article from Montana Outdoors explores the different ways FWP, landowners, and conservationists are working together to help wildlife continue their centuries-old migration routes as they have despite modern obstacles.
On the Move: Pronghorn Migrations across Seasons
On the Move is an interactive StoryMap that highlights the iconic and timeless but increasingly threatened pronghorn migration.
Behind the Wire with a Fence Ecologist
This High Country News article explores how some of NWF's researchers and volunteers are using science, data, and elbow grease to fix problem fences.
Mapping Invisible Barriers: A Frontier in Conservation
Fences can be a win-win for both landowners and migrating wildlife.
Transportation Bill Critical for Improved Wildlife Connectivity
Montana Education Coordinator, Naomi Alhadeff, describes how wildlife crossings can save lives and also improve wildlife connectivity across the West.
Running the Gauntlet
Crops, dams, fences, roads and other human footprints can block animal movements, but efforts are afoot to open wildlife corridors.
Pronghorn Xing: a Two-Pronged Approach
Community-science helps gather information to prevent wildlife collisions on highways.
Wildlife Know No Boundaries
The Northern Great Plains is an example of multi-jurisdiction wildlife management.
Connecting Wildlife Habitats
Wildlife move both daily and seasonally to survive, and their need to move may be greater than ever.
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.