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Challenges to natural resource monitoring in a small border park: terrestrial mammals at Coronado National Memorial, Cochise County, Arizona

By: , and 
Edited by: William L. HalvorsonCharles van Riper III, and Cecil R. Schwalbe

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Abstract

Long-term monitoring in national parks is essential to meet National Park Service and other important public goals. Terrestrial mammals are often proposed for monitoring because large mammals are of interest to visitors and small mammals are important as prey. However, traditional monitoring strategies for mammals are often too expensive and complex to sustain for long periods, particularly in small parks. To evaluate potential strategies for long-term monitoring in small parks, we conducted an intensive one-year inventory of terrestrial mammals at Coronado National Memorial, located in Arizona on the U.S.-Mexico international border, then continued less-intensive monitoring at the site for 7 additional years. During 1996-2003 we confirmed 44 species of terrestrial mammals. Most species (40) were detected in the intensive first year of the study, but we continued to detect new species in later years. Mark-recapture data on small mammals indicated large inter-annual fluctuations in population size, but no significant trend over the 7-year period. Issues associated with the international border affected monitoring efforts and increased sampling costs. Our study confirms that sustained annual monitoring of mammals is probably not feasible in small park units like Coronado. However, comparisons of our data with past studies provide insight into important changes in the mammal community since the 1970s, including an increase in abundance and diversity of grassland rodents. Our results suggest that intensive inventories every 10-20 years may be a valuable and cost-effective approach for detecting long-term trends in terrestrial mammal communities in small natural areas.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Challenges to natural resource monitoring in a small border park: terrestrial mammals at Coronado National Memorial, Cochise County, Arizona
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher University of Arizona Press
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Southwestern desert resources
First page 225
Last page 240
Country United States
State Arizona
County Cochise county
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N