Modeling predator habitat to enhance reintroduction planning
- 554 Downloads
The success of species reintroduction often depends on predation risk and spatial estimates of predator habitat. The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a species of conservation concern and populations in the western United States have declined substantially in the last century. Reintroduction plans are underway, but the ability of the species to establish a self-sustaining population is affected by predation from its primary predator, the bobcat (Lynx rufus).
To develop a habitat model that incorporates both habitat of the focal species and the spatial patterning of predator habitat. To locate areas of densely aggregated habitat that would be suitable for reintroduction.
Using camera survey data, we modeled the association between bobcat presence and environmental features using a classification tree. We applied this model to a spatial analysis of fisher habitat and identified reintroduction areas in the southern Washington Cascade Range.
The classification tree predicted bobcat detection based on elevation and mean tree diameter. The final model identified fisher reintroduction locations primarily in or near existing wilderness areas. Fisher habitat areas identified considering both habitat and predation risk differed from those identified without considering predation.
Our spatial approach is unique among fisher reintroduction plans by accounting for both resource requirements and risk of predation. It can be used as a template for future reintroduction efforts in other regions and for other species. Using similar models to refine population management and reintroduction should improve the probability of successful population establishment and stability.
KeywordsFisher (Pekania pennanti) Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Reintroduction Predation Habitat modeling Classification tree
The Gifford Pinchot Task Force (gptaskforce.org) generously supplied survey equipment and funding for this research. Survey data from the National Park Service and the Cascades Carnivore Project were valuable additions to the work. Greta Wengert offered important insights from fisher and bobcat studies in California, and Jeffrey Lewis (WA-DFW) provided valuable review comments.
- Buskirk SW, Bowman J, Gilbert JH (2012) Population biology and matrix demographic modeling of American martens and fishers. In: Aubry KB, Zielinski WJ, Raphael MG, Proulx G, Buskirk SW (eds) Biology and conservation of martens, sables, and fishers: a new synthesis. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, pp 77–92Google Scholar
- Ewen JG, Armstrong DP, Parker KA, Seddon PJ (eds) (2012) Reintroduction biology, 1st edn. Wiley-Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Gilbert JH (2000) Impacts of reestablished fishers on bobcat populations in Wisconsin. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, MadisonGoogle Scholar
- Hansen K (2007) Bobcat: master of survival, 1st edn. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Ingram R (1973) Wolverine, fisher, and marten in Central Oregon. Central Region Administrative Report. Oregon State Game Commission, SalemGoogle Scholar
- Jacobson JE, Lewis JC, Snyder MC (2003) Assessment of fisher habitat in Washington State. Tier 1 Refinement and Tier 2 Final Report. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
- Lewis JC (2013) Implementation plan for reintroducing fishers to the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
- Lewis JC (2014) Post-release movements, survival, and resource selection of fishers (Pekania pennanti) translocated to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Dissertation, University of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Lewis JC, Hayes GE (2004) Feasibility assessment for reintroducing fishers to Washington. Final Report. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
- Lewis JC, Happe PJ, Jenkins KJ, Manson DJ (2011) Olympic fisher reintroduction project: progress report 2008–2011. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
- Lofroth EC, Raley CM, Finley LL, Naney RH (2010) Conservation of fishers (Martes pennanti) in south-central British Columbia, western Washington, western Oregon, and California. USDI Bureau of Land Management, DenverGoogle Scholar
- Powell R (1993) The fisher: life history, ecology, and behavior, 2nd edn. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
- Roy KD (1991) Ecology of reintroduced fishers in the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana. Thesis, University of Montana, MissoulaGoogle Scholar
- Slauson KM, Baldwin JA, Zielinski WJ (2012) Occupancy estimation and modeling in martes research and monitoring. In: Aubry KB, Zielinski WJ, Raphael MG, Proulx G, Buskirk SW (eds) Biology and conservation of martens, sables, and fishers: a new synthesis. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, pp 343–368Google Scholar
- Wengert G (2013) Ecology of intraguild predation on fishers (Martes pennanti) in California. Dissertation, University of California, DavisGoogle Scholar
- Zielinski WJ, Kucera TE (1995) American marten, fisher, lynx, and wolverine: survey methods for their detection. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-157. USDA Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Research Station, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
- Zielinski WJ, Truex RL, Ogan C, Busse K (1997) Detection surveys for fishers and American martens in California, 1989-1994: summary and interpretations. In: Proulx G, Bryant HN, Woodard PM (eds) Martes: taxonomy, ecology, techniques, and management. The Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, pp 372–392Google Scholar