Habitat models, used to predict consequences of land management decisions on wildlife, can have considerable economic effect on management decisions. The Black Hills National Forest uses such a habitat capability model (HABCAP), but its accuracy is largely unknown. We tested this model’s predictive accuracy for nongame birds in 13 vegetative structural stages of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), aspen (Populus tremuloides)/birch (Betula papyrifera), and meadow habitats in the Black Hills, South Dakota from 1992 through 1994. We used data collected during the first two years to test HABCAP model coefficients for 11 species, and develop coefficients for 9 species not included in the existing model. We then made a different-time-and-location test of the revised model coefficients for all 20 species. Coefficients that differed from predicted use were revised. The final model provides managers with more accurate assessments of effects of alternative forest management practices on nongame birds.
Mills, Todd R., Rumble, Mark A., Flake, Lester D. 1996. Evaluation of a habitat capability model for nongame birds in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Res. Paper RM-RP-323. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 30 p.