Conservation Science Blog

New research relevant to conservation in western North America

The Conservation Science Blog is intended to bring new and relevant research to the attention of conservation scientists, and facilitate discussion on how to apply this science to further conservation goals in western North America.

New version of Connectivity Analysis Toolkit software released

The Connectivity Analysis Toolkit is a software interface that provides conservation planners with tools for both linkage mapping and landscape-level ‘centrality’ analysis. 450 people from around the world have downloaded the CAT since it became available in 2010.
We have just released Version 1.2 with the following changes:

• Approximate shortest-path betweenness centrality allows faster computation of this metric
• Approximate current flow betweenness centrality allows faster computation of this metric; function also uses sparse matrices for lower RAM requirements
• Network flow functions updated to LEMON version 1.2.2
• Updates to manual and tutorial dataset

These are major updates which speed computation in some cases by an order of magnitude. Thanks to Aric Hagberg for his work adding these new functions to NetworkX and thus making them available for the CAT.

The software is freely available at (a link is also posted on this blog site).

Are current management practices ‘trapping’ forest ecosystems?

Two new articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discuss whether management can push forests and other ecosystems into ‘landscape traps’ which may be difficult to restore to former conditions. The ‘landscape trap’ concept resembles previous research on alternate stable ecosystem states, but recognizes the importance of spatial dynamics in maintaining a landscape in a degraded state. Read more