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Assessing Habitat Quality for the Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpcker
Convery, Ken M
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This project had 2 major objectives. The first objective was to assess how well the revised U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Foraging Habitat Guidelines depict good quality habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) at Camp Lejeune, NC. To accomplish this, I used multiple linear and logistic regression to examine the relationships between fitness, habitat use, home range size, and habitat characteristics described in the guidelines. I assumed that habitat characteristics that confer quality were related to higher fitness, greater habitat use, and reduced home range size. To a large extent, the guidelines are validated. Red-cockaded woodpeckers responded favorably to habitat that mimics the historical, mature, and fire-maintained pine forests of the southeastern U.S., characterized by high densities of large pines, low densities of small and medium pines, and a lush herbaceous groundcover. Variables positively associated with habitat use and fitness were associated with reduced home range size, and those negatively associated with habitat use and fitness with increased home range size. Percent herbaceous groundcover was a significant regressor indicative of quality in every model. The second objective was to assess how well USFWS foraging partitions represent habitat used by red-cockaded woodpeckers. I conducted home range follows of 23 groups of red-cockaded woodpeckers and estimated the percentage of each home range encompassed by partitions of varying radii. The percentage of the actual home range included in the partition increased as a function of partition radius. The standard 800 m circular partition, on average, included 91% of the home range, but significant variation existed between groups.
- Masters Theses