GEOSPATIAL ECOLOGICAL FOREST CORRIDOR MODELLING IN THE MOUNT LANTOY KEY BIODIVERSITY AREA
In biodiversity conservation, ecological corridors are assumed to increase landscape-level connectivity and to enhance the viability of otherwise isolated wildlife populations. Mapping these corridors serves as a feasible method to support forest management efforts in pinpointing areas to give special attention to. Here, we assess the current forest presence in the 3,000 hectare Mt. Lantoy, Key Biodiversity Area in Argao, Cebu and present potential forest corridors that could enhance the canopy cover of the current protected area. We present a method to map the potential corridors through the identification of the forest patches obtained from the global forest cover dataset and the creation of a species distribution model for the black shama, an endemic bird species in Cebu island and a great biodiversity indicator for the area. Our ecological corridors were acquired through the sum of the cost distance rasters obtained from the weighted overlay and cost surface tools of the black shama habitat suitability model. With the obtained corridors from the study, four potential forest corridors/ extensions were identified connecting five different forest patches. These corridors have areas that range from 0.47–2.17 square kilometers, with a potential to increase the forest cover in the KBA to more than 33% after corridor modelling.