Vermont Forest Indicators Dashboard

Forest Connectivity

Score for 2011:
Long-Term Trend:
Scores are 
Forest connectivity is the degree to which the distance between adjacent forest patches impedes or facilitates movement1. Forests with higher connectivity better allow for the exchange of water and nutrients, movement of wildlife, dispersal and genetic interchange between populations, and long distance range shifts of species, such as in response to climate change2,3. Maintaining connectivity becomes a higher priority as forests become more fragmented with urban expansion. Not only must the connections exist but they must be functional as well. Here, forest connectivity is measured using the “Contagion Index” calculated using FragStats software4. The current year is scored as the difference between the data minimum -10% of the range and the long-term mean.
1Taylor, P.D., Fahrig, L., Henein, K. and Merriam, G., 1993. Connectivity is a vital element of landscape structure. Oikos, pp.571-573.
2Code of Federal Regulations. 2011. Title 36, Section 219.19.
3Sorenson, E and Osborne, J. 2014. Vermont habitat blocks and habitat connectivity: an analysis using geographic information systems. Available at:
4McGarigal, K., SA Cushman, and E Ene. 2012. FRAGSTATS v4: Spatial Pattern Analysis Program for Categorical and Continuous Maps. Computer software program produced by the authors at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Available at the following web site:
FEMC Archive Resources
Dataset: Landscape-scale forest connectivity for Vermont