When desert tortoises are rare: Testing a new protocol for assessing status

California Fish and Game
By: , and 

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Abstract

We developed and tested a new protocol for sampling populations of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, a state- and federally listed species, in areas where population densities are very low, historical data are sparse, and anthropogenic uses may threaten the well-being of tortoise populations and habitat. We conducted a 3-year (2002–2004) survey in Jawbone-Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Red Rock Canyon State Park in the western Mojave Desert of California where the status was previously unknown. We stratified the study area and used 751, 1-ha plots to evaluate 187.7 km2 of habitat, a 4% sample. Tortoise sign was found on 31 of the 751 plots (4.1%) in two limited areas: ~14 km2 on the Kiavah Apron and ~40 km2 in the Red Rock Canyon watershed.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title When desert tortoises are rare: Testing a new protocol for assessing status
Series title California Fish and Game
Volume 94
Issue 2
Year Published 2008
Language English
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 23 p.
First page 75
Last page 97