Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 98-108.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020219

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The contributions of animal movement network researches to landscape ecology

Yuehui Li, Yuanman Hu*()   

  1. CAS Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016
  • Received:2020-05-27 Accepted:2020-08-17 Online:2021-01-20 Published:2020-09-09
  • Contact: Yuanman Hu


Context: As early as the emergence of landscape ecology in the 1980s, scientists began to conceive ideas about landscape networks including landscape networks concepts, network metrics, and landscape connectivity. Those early ideas needed to be gradually realized through the exploration of concrete landscape processes. Animal movement processes are substantially different from inorganic processes due to the fact that animals provide a variety of biological attributes in each corridor or patch and feed back into their habitat in a highly complex way. Therefore, the animal movement network research especially contribute to realizing and developing those early ideas to build up landscape network research.
Objectives: We present a review to summarize the development of research focusing on animal movement networks and how it has contributed to landscape ecology. We also provide an overview of animal movement network research progress in China and recognize the gap between China and developed countries.
Results and conclusions: We summarize the early ideas of landscape networks including landscape networks concepts, network metrics, and landscape connectivity which have shaped three current focuses in animal network research: modelling movement networks, evaluating importance of network elements, and examining functional landscape connectivity. It is considered as the trend of incorporating animal movement to movement network research. We illustrate that the research on movement networks has aimed at quantifying biological attributes in each corridor/patch as well as the connections or differences among corridors/patches in those attributes. This has made a special contribution to realizing those early ideas and developing landscape ecology from the era of focusing on only inorganic processes. Also, we highlight that there is a gap in animal movement networks research between China and developed countries, which hinders the special contributions to landscape ecology study in China. Additionally, we emphasize the importance and necessity of movement ecology research employing GPS tracking data to improve knowledge of animal movement networks and narrow the research gap.

Key words: animal movement network, landscape ecology, landscape patterns, landscape processes, landscape function, simulation of migratory network, importance of network elements, landscape connectivity, movement behavior