The Condatis project: habitat planning for biodiversity resilience

Condatis is a decision support tool used to identify the best locations to create and restore habitat networks and increase connectivity across landscapes. This is helping ecosystems to thrive across the world.

Conservation organisations around the world are attempting to make bigger, higher quality habitats that are connected in a network to other habitats.  This is to enable wildlife species to shift to new, more suitable locations in response to climate change, and so maintain biodiversity.  Habitat restoration, however, is expensive. 

Dr Jenny Hodgson has led the Condatis project and developed the Condatis software.  Condatis can be used to quantify the effect that habitat restoration will have on long-distance, multi-generational movement of species.  It provides decision support to identify the best locations for habitat creation, protection and restoration.  This enables targeting of resources for the most effective conservation.

Condatis has been used by several major conservation projects. Buglife is devoted to conservation of all invertebrates. They are promoting 3km wide ‘dispersal corridors’ linking existing wildflower-rich habitats which are vital for pollinators. Using Condatis, they can decide which wildflower sites to target for habitat improvement to get the most value for money.

We take the most essential features of the landscape configuration, and how species can reproduce and disperse, and we translate these into equations, using insights from physics. 

Dr Jenny Hodgson, Condatis Lead

Sabah state in north-eastern Borneo, Malaysia, is a global biodiversity hotspot whose wildlife and ecosystem are severely threatened by land-use and climate change.  The state government have pledged to increase Totally Protected Areas to 30% of the land area (an additional 400,000 hectares). Condatis is being used as part of the process to prioritise this new protection.

Other major users of Condatis include the Woodland Trust and Community Forests for their Northern Forest project, Warwickshire County Council, The Wildlife Trusts and Natural England.

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