The concept grows out landscape ecology and a commonly used definition is “the degree to which the landscape facilitates or impedes movement among resource patches.” In turn, “resource patch” is a discrete, homogeneous area on a landscape that differs from its surroundings, in effect a sub-unit of a landscape. Some talk about patches as islands on a landscape.
Sometimes patches get broken up, or fragmented, into smaller units through farming, development or climate change, and species that depend on the patches are put at risk. Fragmentation impedes the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species. Connectivity, often through habitat corridors, enables the movement of species between patches and the functioning of the ecological system within a landscape.
Some further ideas to explore on Landscape Connectivity
Identify several natural resource patches in your area.
Identify some of the species that inhabit those patches.
Design a way of providing connectivity between several patches so that the habitat for one or more species is preserved or enriched.
Katie Meiklejohn, Rob Ament & Gary Tabor, Habitat Corridors & Landscape Connectivity: Clarifying the Terminology, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, A Project of the Wild Foundation www.twp.org/sites/default/files/terminology%20CLLC.pdf
Institute for European Environmental Policy, Guidance on the maintenance of landscape connectivity features of major importance for wild flora and fauna: Guidance on the implementation of Article 3 of the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and Article 10 of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (Aug 2007). ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/docs/adaptation_fragmentation_guidelines.pdf
British Columbia Ministry of Forests Research Program, Landscape Ecology and Connectivity (1997). www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/en/en15.pdf
Thomas G. Barnes, Landscape Ecology and Ecosystems Management www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/for/for76/for76.htm
Liza Lester, “Landscape connectivity: corridors and more,” Ecological Society Of America (19 Oct 2012). www.esa.org/esablog/research/landscape-connectivity-corridors-and-more-in-issues-in-ecology-16/