Proposed methodology for the design and assessment of a biological corridor in the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, Costa Rica = Propuesta metodológica en el diseño y evaluación de un corredor biológico en la reserva forestal Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Based on the characteristics of the study area, and those of the fauna studied, corridor designs were proposed using a methodology that considered three main elements: 1) Evaluation of habitat use by wildlife; 2) Use of a Geographical Information System (GIS) to define corridor boundaries (pathways between habitat quality ranks); 3) Management regulations using the corridor as part of the landscape. Herbivores were consistently present in those areas covered by primary forest. Omnivores were located in a wider variety of covers (grass and agriculture, secondary forest, primary forest, melina). Wildcats were located in primary and secondary forest cover types (mainly used by their herbivore prey). The three guilds were maintained far from highways and human settlements but near forest and water resources. Several species crossed the highways that surround the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve (GDFR). Maps show that available habitat areas of ""excellent"" and ""good"" habitat quality features, were reduced for the species Panthera onca and Puma concolor, and their conflict areas were more extensive; this fact probably pushed these wildcats to move into heavily altered environments. This study reinforced affirmations about the necessity of corridors, based on identification of habitat that meets minimum quality requirements for wildlife (corridor users), and that defines or modifies their spatial distribution. The pathways designed by this procedure coincide with prior studies showing that critical areas for all wildcats species (and for other species related to them) were located north of Corcovado National Park (CNP), San Juan, Mogos, and the area where Piedras Blancas National Park (PBNP) borders the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve (GDFR). However, the spatial location of corridors is quite different in this proposal and other possible pathway was identified for P. onca and its prey. This pathway was found to be in conflict toward Drake and wetlands of Sierpe Terraba too.
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