Evaluating FIA Forest Inventory Data for Monitoring Mexican Spotted Owl Habitat: Gila National Forest Example

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The habitat of the Mexican spotted owl must be monitored because of the owl's “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A possible data source for habitat monitoring is the network of permanent plots maintained by Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. This article demonstrates how FIA data might be used to calculate stand density measures for monitoring owl habitat. Test results for New Mexico's Gila National Forest showed 26% of the mixed conifer and 35% of the pine-oak as suitable owl habitat for a forest structure scenario. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals for these estimates were from ±20 to ±35% for the mixed-conifer habitat area; for pine-oak they were ±50 to ±73%. Although results are encouraging for using FIA data to monitor owl habitat, critical linkage needs to be established between the owl's home-range requirements and the stand-density metrics tested. West. J. Appl. For. 15(4):195-199.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Albuquerque, NM

Publication date: October 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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