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Valentin Lucet

Student Speaker | Étudiant.e
Montreal, Quebec

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Connectivity conservation science, whose goal is to preserve the continuity of habitat throughout a given landscape, proceeds by identifying priority areas given the current configuration of the landscape. However, current connectivity conservation planning methods often do not take into account risks associated with future land use and climate change, and often do not confront the results of the prioritization process with the priorities perceived by stakeholders. Here, we show solutions to those two issues in the context of an ongoing effort of connectivity conservation planning for the region of Montérégie in Southern Québec, Canada. In the first chapter, we built on past work of connectivity modelling using circuit theory in the region and complemented it with land use and climate change modelling that uses a combination of statistical modelling and MCMC-based simulations. Models trained on past land use data were used to project future land use changes and estimate future changes in potential functional connectivity for 5 different umbrella species. In a second chapter, we integrated these results with the perceived conservation priorities in the region. We conducted a day-long workshop with stakeholders involved in the ongoing connectivity conservation planning effort in the region and collected information on landscape features considered as priority areas for connectivity. We translated these results into simple conservation scenarios. We showed the importance of considering land use changes to produce a resilient network of protected areas and highlight the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in the definition of conservation scenarios and the identification of regional priorities.