Skip to Main Content
The scientific basis for modeling Northern Spotted Owl habitat: A response to Loehle, Irwin, Manly, and MerrillAuthor(s): Jeffrey R. Dunk; Brian Woodbridge; Elizabeth M. Glenn; Raymond J. Davis; Katherine Fitzgerald; Paul Henson; David W. LaPlante; Bruce G. Marcot; Barry R. Noon; Martin G. Raphael; Nathan H. Schumaker; Brendan White
Source: Forest Ecology and Management
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
Download Publication (255.0 KB)
DescriptionThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently revised the recovery plan (USFWS, 2011) and designated Critical Habitat (USFWS, 2012a) for the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). The Critical Habitat designation was based in part on a map of relative habitat suitability that was developed by USFWS (2011, 2012b) for this purpose. Loehle et al. (2015) critiqued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approach to modeling relative habitat suitability for the Northern Spotted Owl. Here, we respond to Loehle et al.’s assessment, and identify four major shortcomings within it. First, it mischaracterizes the literature on spotted owls and MaxEnt, the species distribution model used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Second, it is predicated upon several logic errors that, when resolved, undermine Loehle et al.’s conclusions. Third, it fails to demonstrate that the nesting and roosting site location data used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a biased sample. Lastly, Loehle et al.’s claims of significant flaws in analytical methods and ecological inference by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are not convincing. We assert that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northern Spotted Owl relative habitat suitability model was in fact scientifically rigorous, and that it met the intended goals that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service articulated for their models.
- Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
- 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.
CitationDunk, Jeffrey R.; Woodbridge, Brian; Glenn, Elizabeth M.; Davis, Raymond J.; Fitzgerald, Katherine; Henson, Paul; LaPlante, David W.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Noon, Barry R.; Raphael, Martin G.; Schumaker, Nathan H.; White, Brendan. 2015. The scientific basis for modeling Northern Spotted Owl habitat: A response to Loehle, Irwin, Manly, and Merrill. Forest Ecology and Management. 358: 355–360.
KeywordsCritical habitat, MaxEnt, Northern Spotted Owl, relative habitat suitability, species distribution model, Strix occidentalis caurina
- Chapter 4: Northern spotted owl habitat and populations: status and threats
- Mixed‐severity wildfire and habitat of an old‐forest obligate
- An evolving process: protecting spotted owl habitat through landscape management
XML: View XML