Landscape Connectivity and Suitable Habitat Analysis for Wolves (Canis lupus L.) in the Eastern Pyrenees

Over the last few decades, much of the mountain area in European countries has turned into potential habitat for species of medium- and large-sized mammals. Some of the occurrences that explain this trend are biodiversity protection, the creation of natural protected areas, and the abandonment of traditional agricultural activities. In recent years, wolves have once again been seen in forests in the eastern sector of the Pyrenees and the Pre-Pyrenees. The success or failure of their permanent settlement will depend on several factors, including conservation measures for the species, habitat availability, and the state of landscape connectivity. The aim of this study is to analyze the state of landscape connectivity for fragments of potential wolf habitat in Catalonia, Andorra, and on the French side of the Eastern Pyrenees. The results show that a third of the area studied constitutes potential wolf habitat and almost 90% of these spaces are of sufficient size to host stable packs. The set of potential wolf habitat fragments was also assessed using the probability of connectivity index (dPC), which analyses landscape connectivity based on graph structures. According to the graph theory, the results confirm that all the nodes or habitat fragments are directly or indirectly interconnected, thus forming a single component. Given the large availability of suitable habitat and the current state of landscape connectivity for the species, the dispersal of the wolf would be favorable if stable packs are formed. A new established population in the Pyrenees could lead to more genetic exchange between the Iberian wolf population and the rest of Europe’s wolf populations ​
This document is licensed under a Creative Commons:Attribution (by) Creative Commons by4.0