What is Conefor?

News (September 2014): a new Conefor Inputs plugin for QGIS is available; it can be now downloaded from the "GIS extentions" section of this website.

News (September 2014): a new Conefor command line version is available, making automation via scripting and batch processing of multiple files and distances possible. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, and both for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. It can also be run from R. It is available in the "Download" section of this website.

Conefor is a software package that allows quantifying the importance of habitat areas and links for the maintenance or improvement of landscape connectivity. It is conceived as a tool for decision-making support in landscape planning and habitat conservation, through the identification and prioritization of critical sites for ecological connectivity. Previous versions of Conefor were known as Conefor Sensinode.

Conefor includes new connectivity indices (integral index of connectivity, probability of connectivity) that have been shown to present an improved performance compared to other existing indices and to be particularly suited for landscape conservation planning and change monitoring applications (Pascual-Hortal & Saura 2006, Saura & Pascual-Hortal 2007, Saura & Rubio 2010, Saura et al. 2011). These indices are based on spatial graphs and on the concept of measuring habitat availability (reachability) at the landscape scale. This concept consists in considering a habitat patch itself as a space where connectivity occurs, measuring the connected resources existing within the patches (intrapatch connectivity) jointly with the resources made available by (reachable through) the connections with other habitat patches (interpatch connectivity). In this way, connectivity is conceived (and measured) as the property of the landscape that determines the amount of reachable habitat in the landscape, no matter if such reachable habitat comes from big and/or high quality habitat patches themselves (intrapatch connectivity), from strong connections between different patches (interpatch connectivity) or, more frequently, from a combination of both.

Conefor is simple to use and runs in any standard computer with a Windows operative system. Conefor is distributed free of charge for non-commercial use, with the only condition of citing the software (Saura & Torné 2009) and the most related references (Pascual-Hortal & Saura 2006, Saura & Pascual-Hortal 2007, Saura & Rubio 2010). Conefor has been developed by Santiago Saura and Josep Torné at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the University of Lleida. It has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and European FEDER funds through Conefor (REN2003-01628/GLO), Ibepfor (CGL2006-00312/BOS), Montes-Consolider (CSD2008-00040), PSE-Gestiona (310000-2009-4) and Decofor (AGL2009-07140/FOR) projects. The Fortran source codes of Sensinode 1.0 (Landgraphs package) by Dean L. Urban (Duke University, USA) were the starting point for the development of the new Conefor Sensinode codes in which the new metrics and developments were implemented.

You can contact us at conefor@gmail.com or through the following contact form. We appreciate hearing about the applications in which Conefor is used, as well as suggestions for improvement. However, very limited user support is provided and only for specific questions regarding this software and the methods implemented in it that cannot be solved by other means (e.g. by carefully reading the user manual and the different related papers available in this website).

You can also subscribe to the Conefor email list. Only very few messages will be sent (e.g. a couple of email messages per year) and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The preferred reference for citing Conefor is the following:

  • Saura, S. & J. Torné. 2009. Conefor Sensinode 2.2: a software package for quantifying the importance of habitat patches for landscape connectivity. Environmental Modelling & Software 24: 135-139.

Title photograph by Javier Gordo Alonso (Junta de Castilla y León)