Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in The Prairie Naturalist 29(1): March 1997.


Metapopulations are currently a hot topic in ecological theory and conservation biology. Fundamentally, a metapopulation is a population of populations, and the term describes certain populations that inhabit discrete habitat patches. Individuals move between patches often enough to recolonize extirpated patches, but not so frequently that the patches exhibit similar population trajectories. The term "metapopulation" was coined and a theory formalized by Richard Levins in 1969, but the concept of spatially divided populations has been around for a longer time.