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Great gray owls (Strix nebulosa) in Yosemite National Park: on the importance of food, forest structure, and human disturbance

Natural Areas Journal

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.3375/043.033.0307

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Abstract

We studied great gray owls (Strix nebulosa Forster) in Yosemite National Park, California, measuring variables that could potentially influence patterns of occurrence and conservation of this stateendangered species. We found that owl presence was closely tied to habitat (red fir (Abies magnified A. Murray) and the abundance of meadows), prey, and snags across the landscape. We also found that indicators of human recreational activities negatively influenced owl distribution and habitat use. Great gray owls appear to prefer mid-elevation red fir forest with meadows that are drier and more productive in terms of small mammal populations. That these areas also have the highest human activity presents a paradox, both for individual owls and for the future conservation and management of this California endangered species. The extent to which human recreation in natural areas affects animal behavior, species distribution, and productivity is a growing issue in natural area management. We present information that will allow land managers to better understand how existing natural resources, coupled with human recreation, influence the distribution and habitat use of the great gray owl.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Great gray owls (Strix nebulosa) in Yosemite National Park: on the importance of food, forest structure, and human disturbance
Series title:
Natural Areas Journal
DOI:
10.3375/043.033.0307
Volume
33
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Natural Areas Association
Contributing office(s):
Southwest Biological Science Center
Description:
11 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Natural Areas Journal
First page:
286
Last page:
295
Number of Pages:
11
Country:
United States
State:
California
Other Geospatial:
Yosemite National Park