Mineral sites are scarce resources of high ion concentration used heavily by the Pacific Coast subpopulation of band-tailed pigeons. Over 20% of all known mineral sites used by band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon, including all hot springs, have been abandoned. Prior investigations have not analyzed stand or landscape level habitat composition in relation to band-tailed pigeon use of mineral sites. We used logistic regression models to evaluate the influence of habitat types, identified from Gap Analysis Program (GAP) products at two spatial scales, on the odds of mineral site use in Oregon (n = 69 currently used and 20 historically used). Our results indicated that the odds of current use were negatively associated with non-forested terrestrial and private land area around mineral sites. Similarly, the odds of current mineral site use were positively associated with forested and special status (GAP stewardship codes 1 and 2) land area. The most important variable associated with the odds of mineral site use was the amount of non-forested land cover at either spatial scale. Our results demonstrate the utility of meso-scale geographic information designed for regional, coarse-filter approaches to conservation in fine-filter investigation of wildlife-habitat relationships. Adjacent landcover and ownership status explain the pattern of use for known mineral sites in western Oregon. In order for conservation and management activities for band-tailed pigeons to be successful, mineral sites need to be addressed as important and vulnerable resources. Management of band-tailed pigeons should incorporate the potential for forest management activities and land ownership patterns to influence the risk of mineral site abandonment.
Additional publication details
Linking landscape characteristics to mineral site use by band-tailed pigeons in Western Oregon: Coarse-filter conservation with fine-filter tuning