This figure from the paper shows one of 10 experimental landscapes from the study, each containing a center fragment that is either connected or unconnected to peripheral fragments of open longleaf pine savanna surrounded by dense pine plantations. Photo credit: Google Earth 2019.

So much connectivity work is about finding ways for large mobile organisms to get from one place to another. What about less mobile species like plants? They still need to disperse from one place to another, it just takes a little more time.

A new paper in Science shows that experimental longleaf restoration corridors increased plant diversity in the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. This is part of a long-term connectivity experiment where they’re restoring longleaf in different patterns within a large area of pine plantation. The experimental approach to looking at corridors is another very cool thing that sets this work apart. Landscape scale experiments like this are very rare and we’re lucky to have one in the South Atlantic!

For more information, read the paper. This article from Science News also provides a good synopsis, particularly if you don’t have access to the journal article.