Chapter 8: Occurrence of large and medium-sized mammals: Occurrence but not count models predict pronghorn distribution

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Management of medium to large-sized terrestrial mammals (Antilocapridae, Canidae, Cervidae, Leporidae, Mustelidae, Ochotonidae) in the western United States is multifaceted and complex. Species in this group generally are charismatic and provide economic opportunities, although others are considered a nuisance at one extreme or are listed as species of conservation concern at the other. Understanding the relative influence of land cover, habitat fragmentation, and human land use on their distribution during the breeding season is imperative to inform management decisions on land use and conservation planning for these species. We surveyed medium to large-sized sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-associated mammal species in 2005 and 2006 on 141 random transects (mean length = 1.1 km) in the Wyoming Basins, an area undergoing rapid land cover transformation due to human actions including energy development. Overall, we observed 10 species but only obtained enough observations of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) to develop spatially explicit distribution models. For pronghorn, occurrence related positively to proportion of sagebrush land cover within 0.27 km, mixed shrubland land cover within 3 km, riparian land cover within 5 km, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within 0.27 km, road density within 5 km, and decay distance to power line corridors at 1 km, but negatively to salt-desert shrubland cover within 18 km and an interaction between sagebrush and NDVI within 0.27 km. We found excellent predictive capability of this model when evaluated with independent test data. The model provides a basis for assessing the effects of proposed development on pronghorn and can aid planning efforts to avoid or mitigate adverse effects on pronghorn.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Chapter 8: Occurrence of large and medium-sized mammals: Occurrence but not count models predict pronghorn distribution
Chapter 8
ISBN 978-0-615-55530-0
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Allen Press
Publisher location Lawrence, Kansas
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, Fort Collins Science Center
Description 22 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Sagebrush ecosystem conservation and management: Ecoregional assessment tools and models for the Wyoming Basins
First page 315
Last page 336
Public Comments The U.S. Geological Survey has been given express permission by the publisher to provide full-text access online for this publication, and is posted with the express permission from the Publications Warehouse Guidance Subcommittee
Country United States
State Wyoming
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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