Landscape connectivity in Zimbabwe
In partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), WildCRU are committed to using the model, and broader landscape connectivity and genetics methods, to address practical conservation needs in Zimbabwe.
WildCRU researchers continue to further develop the model, which will result in a more detailed resistance surface, and, with collaborators, they also work to further validate the model using camera trap, spoor and genetic data. In the meantime, the existing model will be used to view conservation management scenarios in the following two priority areas:
- The Sebungwe region between the Hwange-Matetsi complex and the Zambezi Valley. This has been highlighted as a critical part of landscape connectivity in the region. The loss of this connectivity would isolate the Okavango-Hwange system from the Zambezi Valley system, severely fragmenting natural habitats. Threats such as dam building (Gwaai/Shangani and Batoka), urban development, roads, coal mining (Liberation and Sunlight mines) and agricultural expansion will be modelled to provide policy makers with insights.
- Similarly, development in the Caprivi and Kwando areas could threaten habitat connectivity, including roads (Caprivi-Zambezi highway from Kongola-Katima, Linyanti Road), extraction of water, agricultural development and increased livestock density.
Additionally researchers will integrate the model with the KAZA TFCA Master Integrated Development Pan (Master IDP), particularly with reference to the the dispersal areas defined under this plan.
It has been suggested that multi-species landscape use should be incorporated into the model. Further data has been identified as available by potential collaborators in order to facilitate this task.
It is with thanks to the following collaborators and contributors that this research is being developed:
African Bush Camps, African Lion & Environmental Research Trust, Conservation & Wildlife Fund, Ecoexist, Environmental Development Trust, Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Secretariat, KAZA Conservation Coalition, Ministry of Environment & Tourism Namibia, The Forestry Commission, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Wilderness Safaris, WWF Namibia, WWF US, Zambezi Society, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority