What are wildlife corridors and how do we protect them
Wildlife corridors are pathways that allow regular travel, seasonal migration or population dispersal of different species. Without intact, healthy corridors, species are unable to migrate, move, find food, reproduce or effectively adapt to a warming planet. As corridors disappear due to habitat fragmentation and human development, so do wildlife.
Even for species that do not seasonally migrate, the ability to find new mates in new places is critical to genetic health and diversity. What happens when habitats are isolated by cities and highways, or fragmented by fences, overuse and uncontrolled development? Since the 1960's, conservation biologists have been able to measure with increasing accuracy the minimum sizes of protected areas needed to ensure the long-term survival of all the species in a given eco-zone. No surprise: big animals need big spaces. If territories are balkanized by highways, energy development, housing and over-grazing, the long term survival of large mammals - as well as the multitude of smaller creatures connected to them - is jeopardized.
Mimbres River along Rio Milagro river corridor. Photo taken June, 2018.
Mimbres River along neighboring ranch corridor. Photo taken same day.
Here on our farm not only have we studied and set aside wildlife corridors, we also realize that to create a healthy eco-system, which our living space is part of, we have to make sure the environment does not become degraded through over-use. It is easy once you allow yourself to say, "It is OK not to graze this because if I leave it alone, it creates more healthry habitat in other areas." We are finding it's crucial to leave sensitive wildlife areas alone as no-use areas that transect throughout the farm. We are finding that a healthy riparian creates healthy uplands in a desert envirnment. The plants hold the moisture in the soil which consequently allows the springs to flow. Once the healthy understory holds the moisture, more wetlands are created. More wetlands means more life everywhere. In a desert environment, especially now with constant severe drought situations, saving our water through re-vegetating our riparian areas is everything.