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    Description

    A discrete-time reaction-diffusion model for black-footed ferret release, population growth, and dispersal is combined with ferret carrying capacity constraints based on prairie dog population management decisions to form a spatial optimization model. Spatial arrangement of active prairie dog colonies within a ferret reintroduction area is optimized over time for maximum expected adult ferret population. This modeling approach is applied in an exploratory case study to a black-footed ferret reintroduction program in Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grassland, South Dakota. The model is currently being used to evaluate prairie dog population management alternatives and captive-bred ferret release locations for the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. This approach is also being adapted for use on other grasslands and with other species in the northern Great Plains.

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    Citation

    Bevers, Michael; Hof, John G.; Uresk, Daniel W.; Schenbeck, Gregory L. 1997. Spatial optimization of prairie dog colonies for black-footed ferret recovery. Operations research. 45(4): 495-507

    Keywords

    Mustela nigripes, ferrets, habitat allocation, endangered species, recovery, probability, diffusion, dynamic spatial population optimization

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27836