Replacing sources with sinks: When do populations go down the drain?

Jason C. Keagy, Sebastian J. Schreiber, Daniel A. Cristol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We investigate the scenario in which some amount of higher quality habitat is destroyed and is then replaced by some undetermined amount of lower quality habitat. We examined how much low-quality habitat would need to be created to maintain the equilibrium population abundance in the entire geographic area. Using a source-sink model, we find that (1) the number of hectares of created habitat per hectare of destroyed habitat must equal the ratio of the high-quality habitat's productivity to the low-quality habitat's productivity, however, (2) if the created habitat is a sink, then there is a threshold fraction of destroyed high-quality habitat below which the initial population abundance cannot be maintained through the creation of habitat. We illustrate these results using data on Redwinged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) in two different regions where high-quality habitat is being replaced by or converted into lower quality habitat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-535
Number of pages7
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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