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Models for Mapping Potential Habitat at Landscape Scales: An Example Using Northern Spotted Owls

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We are assessing the potential for current and alternative policies in the Oregon Coast Range to affect habitat capability for a suite of forest resources. We provide an example of a spatially explicit habitat capability model for northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) to illustrate the approach we are taking to assess potential changes in habitat capability for vertebrates across the Coast Range. The model was based on vegetation structure at five spatial scales: the potential nest tree, a 0.5 ha potential nest patch, 28 ha around a potential nest patch, 212 ha around a potential nest patch, and a 1,810 ha home range area around a potential nest patch. Sensitivity analyses indicated that the proportion of the 28 ha patch in large trees around a potential nest patch, and the number of potential nest trees per ha in the nest patch, had the greatest influence on habitat capability estimates. The model was verified using georeferenced locations of spotted owl nests from systematically surveyed areas. Logistic regression analysis indicated that habitat capability scores were significantly associated with the probability of a site having a nest. Alternative model structures were tested during verification to test assumptions associated with four variables. The final model allowed development of a map of habitat capability for spotted owl nesting. The model will be linked to a model of forest dynamics to project changes in habitat capability under alternative land management policies. FOR. SCI. 48(2):203–216.
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Keywords: Wildlife habitat relationships; environmental management; forest; forest habitat; forest management; forest planning; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 01003, Phone: (413) 545-1764; Fax: (413) 545-4358 [email protected] 2: Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, Phone: (541) 737-2244; Fax:(541) 737-1393 [email protected] 3: USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR, 97331, Phone: (541) 750-7354; Fax: (541) 758-7760 [email protected] 4: Pacific Wildlife Research, 1521 NW Harrison Blvd, Corvallis, OR, 97330, Phone: (541) 754-6335; Fax: (541) 754-6555 [email protected]

Publication date: 01 May 2002

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