Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Martha M. Ellis; Jacob S. Ivan; Michael K. Schwartz
    Date: 2014
    Source: Conservation Biology. 28(1): 52-62.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (392.46 KB)


    Conservation scientists and resource managers often have to design monitoring programs for species that are rare or patchily distributed across large landscapes. Such programs are frequently expensive and seldom can be conducted by one entity. It is essential that a prospective power analysis be undertaken to ensure stated monitoring goals are feasible. We developed a spatially based simulation program that accounts for natural history, habitat use, and sampling scheme to investigate the power of monitoring protocols to detect trends in population abundance over time with occupancy-based methods. We analyzed monitoring schemes with different sampling efforts for wolverine (Gulo gulo) populations in 2 areas of the U.S. Rocky Mountains. The relation between occupancy and abundance was nonlinear and depended on landscape, population size, and movement parameters. With current estimates for population size and detection probability in the northern U.S. Rockies, most sampling schemes were only able to detect large declines in abundance in the simulations (i.e., 50% decline over 10 years). For small populations reestablishing in the Southern Rockies, occupancy-based methods had enough power to detect population trends only when populations were increasing dramatically (e.g., doubling or tripling in 10 years), regardless of sampling effort. In general, increasing the number of cells sampled or the per-visit detection probability had a much greater effect on power than the number of visits conducted during a survey. Although our results are specific to wolverines, this approach could easily be adapted to other territorial species.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Ellis, Martha M.; Ivan, Jacob S.; Schwartz, Michael K. 2014. Spatially explicit power analysis for occupancy-based monitoring of wolverine populations in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. Conservation Biology. 28(1): 52-62.


    Google Scholar


    detection probability, occupancy, population monitoring, population trends, sampling design

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page