Science Inventory

A landscape approach for assessing the ecological feasibility of a black bear population recovery

Citation:

Ferrari, J. R. AND A. T. MORZILLO. A landscape approach for assessing the ecological feasibility of a black bear population recovery. Presented at US Chapter, International Association for Landscape Ecology annual symposium, Snowbird, UT, April 12 - 16, 2009.

Impact/Purpose:

There is great interest in recovering populations of large carnivores in locations where they previously were extirpated or severely reduced in size as a result of human activity.

Description:

There is great interest in recovering populations of large carnivores in locations where they previously were extirpated or severely reduced in size as a result of human activity. Determining the ecological feasibility (i.e., is adequate habitat available?) of a species is difficult in the case of recovery because no location-specific habitat use data are available and a location targeted for recovery may contain a myriad of land owners and land uses. Our objective was to apply a landscape approach in order to determine ecological feasibility of a Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanos luteolus) recovery in southeastern Texas. We used past research focusing on black bear ecology and behavior, supervised classification of multispectral imagery, an individual-based dispersal model, and network analysis to evaluate quantity (habitat area), quality (suitability and remoteness), and distribution (connectedness) of black bear habitat. Results suggest that public land and forested river corridors contained a majority of high-quality remote habitat (>225,000 ha), particularly in central and eastern portions of the study area. High-quality remote habitat is well-connected and likely adequate for sustaining a population of more than 500 black bears. Because no habitat use data are available, our suggestion is for managers to focus on areas of remote high-quality habitat in an effort to minimize potential for human-bear conflict. However, careful monitoring is critical for creating a detailed record of habitat use data as such information becomes available for the species and area. Our research demonstrates the importance of a landscape approach for species recovery management, particularly in a location containing multiple land uses and ownership jurisdictions.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 04/12/2009
Record Last Revised: 11/10/2009
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 202827

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS BRANCH