The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is listed as a threatened species throughout the southern extent of its geographic range in the United States. Most research on lynx has been conducted in the western United States and Canada; little is known about the ecology of lynx in eastern North America. To fill critical knowledge gaps about this species, we modeled and mapped lynx occurrence using habitat and weather data from 7 eastern states and 3 Canadian provinces. Annual snowfall, road density, bobcat (L. rufus) harvest, deciduous forest, and coniferous forest were compared at 1,150 lynx locations and 1,288 random locations. Nineteen a priori models were developed using the information-theoretic approach, and logistic regression models were ranked using Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) and by our ability to correctly classify reserved data (Kappa). Annual snowfall and deciduous forest predicted lynx presence and absence for a reserved dataset (n = 278) with 94% accuracy. A map of the probability of lynx occurrence throughout the region revealed that 92% of the potential habitat (i.e., >50% probability of occurrence) was concentrated in a relatively contiguous complex encompassing northern Maine, New Brunswick, and the Gaspe?? peninsula of Quebec. Most of the remaining potential habitat (5%) was on northern Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Potential habitat in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York was small (1,252 km2), fragmented, and isolated (>200 km) from known lynx populations. When federally listed as threatened in the contiguous United States in 2000, inadequate regulations on federal lands were cited as the primary threat to Canada lynx. However, the majority of potential lynx habitat in the eastern United States is on private lands and continuous with potential habitat in Canada. Therefore, lynx conservation in eastern North America will need to develop partnerships across national, state, and provincial boundaries as well as with private landowners.
Additional publication details
Broad-scale predictors of canada lynx occurrence in eastern North America