Using satellite imagery to assess breeding habitat availability of the endangered loggerhead shrike in Québec
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 1, January 2005 , pp. 81-95(15)
Abstract:The loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is a grassland bird species whose preferred nesting habitat in eastern Canada is pastureland. This species has been extirpated from much of its historical range in this region, and breeding habitat loss is suspected to be an important cause of this decline. We evaluated the availability of suitable breeding habitats in Québec using satellite imagery. Because this species no longer breeds in Québec, we established habitat selection criteria from known nesting sites in the adjacent province of Ontario, from analysis of a Landsat-TM satellite image, and applied these criteria to Landsat-TM images covering southern Québec. We developed regional landscape criteria in 100 km2 plots and patch indices criteria at the pasture level. Spatial analyses were conducted to characterize plots and pastures on the basis of pasture availability and spatial distribution. Pastures suitable for nesting loggerhead shrikes were those fulfilling patch criteria at the pasture level and located in plots fulfilling regional landscape criteria. Overall, 310 out of 1700 plots located in the historical breeding range of the loggerhead shrike in Québec fulfilled landscape criteria, supporting 3988 pastures that fulfilled patch criteria. More than 500 of these pastures were visited to validate their current status. The Outaouais region would be the most suitable region for nesting loggerhead shrikes in southern Québec, where suitable breeding habitat still remains because more than two-thirds of visited sites were still pastureland, hawthorns were well-distributed in the region, and pastureland fragmentation was lowest. We conclude that the availability of breeding habitat does not limit the establishment of a breeding population of loggerhead shrike in southern Québec, as we estimated that thousands of hectares of suitable habitat still remain in that province.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, 1141 route de l’Église, Sainte-Foy, P.O. Box 10100, G1V 4H5, Québec, Canada, Email: email@example.com 2: Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, 1141 route de l’Église, Sainte-Foy, P.O. Box 10100, G1V 4H5, Québec, Canada,
Publication date: 2005-01-01