Improving glider management
Genetic research is an important component of Glideways that helps to inform and improve the management of local glider populations. In addition, research enables us to develop general recommendations that can be applied to other landscapes, species and government environment programs.
Why is research needed?
A vital goal of Glideways is to support essential ecological processes like species dispersal, recolonisation and gene flow. However, most connectivity programs are ‘flying blind’ because they lack information on how the existing level of landscape connectivity affects populations.
This means that habitat restoration may not be occurring where the need is greatest, nor can the effectiveness of onground works be properly evaluated. We also need to better understand which landscape features influence connectivity for each species. Features that we consider to be barriers or corridors (based on maps, modelling or field visits) may not in reality influence connectivity in the way we think.
Genetic research is an excellent tool for testing these assumptions and evaluating connectivity at a range of scales, providing us with better information about how best to manage landscapes.
How will this help
Our work provides landholders and land managers with information about how to improve and maintain connectivity for gliders in their local area.
For example, we will use genetic data to produce maps of each landscape that identify movement paths, current barriers to movement and gene flow, and highlight priority locations for future corridors.
In turn this enables us to identify common patterns of glider movement and the impact of specific landscape features (e.g. roads, corridors, urban developments) on this movement. This information will provide vital principles for glider conservation that can be used by land managers and to inform conservation programs, such as Save Our Species (SOS).