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): Quresh S. LatifVictoria A. SaabJonathan G. Dudley; Jeff P. Hollenbeck
    Date: 2013
    Source: Ecology and Evolution. 3(13): 4348-4364
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.03 MB)

    Description

    To conserve habitat for disturbance specialist species, ecologists must identify where individuals will likely settle in newly disturbed areas. Habitat suitability models can predict which sites at new disturbances will most likely attract specialists. Without validation data from newly disturbed areas, however, the best approach for maximizing predictive accuracy can be unclear (Northwestern U.S.A.). We predicted habitat suitability for nesting Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus; a burned-forest specialist) at 20 recently (<6 years postwildfire) burned locations in Montana using models calibrated with data from three locations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. We developed 8 models using three techniques (weighted logistic regression, Maxent, and Mahalanobis D2 models) and various combinations of four environmental variables describing burn severity, the north­south orientation of topographic slope, and prefire canopy cover. After translating model predictions into binary classifications (0 = low suitability to unsuitable, 1 = high to moderate suitability), we compiled "ensemble predictions," consisting of the number of models (0-8) predicting any given site as highly suitable. The suitability status for 40% of the area burned by eastside Montana wildfires was consistent across models and therefore robust to uncertainty in the relative accuracy of particular models and in alternative ecological hypotheses they described. Ensemble predictions exhibited two desirable properties: (1) a positive relationship with apparent rates of nest occurrence at calibration locations and (2) declining model agreement outside surveyed environments consistent with our reduced confidence in novel (i.e., "no-analogue") environments. Areas of disagreement among models suggested where future surveys could help validate and refine models for an improved understanding of Black-backed Woodpecker nesting habitat relationships. Ensemble predictions presented here can help guide managers attempting to balance salvage logging with habitat conservation in burned-forest landscapes where black-backed woodpecker nest location data are not immediately available. Ensemble modeling represents a promising tool for guiding conservation of large-scale disturbance specialists.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Latif, Quresh S.; Saab, Victoria A.; Dudley, Jonathan G.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P. 2013. Ensemble modeling to predict habitat suitability for a large-scale disturbance specialist. Ecology and Evolution. 3(13): 4348-4364

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    black-backed Woodpeckers, forested habitat management, habitat suitability models, Mahalanobis D2 models, Maxent models, model prediction in no-analogue environments, Picoides arcticus, resource selection models, species distribution models, wildfire

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/45064