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Climate change and other stressors change modeled population size and hybridization potential for San Joaquin kit fox
Nogeire, T., J. Lawler, N. Schumaker, B. Cypher, AND S. Phillips. Climate change and other stressors change modeled population size and hybridization potential for San Joaquin kit fox. Presented at Society for Conservation Biology, North Ameirca Congress for Conservation Biology, Missoula, MT, July 13 - 16, 2014.
The EPA Office of Pesticide Products regulates pesticides, including rodenticides. Rodenticide impacts on non-target organisms are one criteria that is weighed when regulatory decisions are made. But rodenticides can impact legally protected species, such as the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, and in these cases the chemical’s effects on population viability become a concern. Population viability analysis (PVA) models are widely used to forecast population trends and viability into the future. This short presentation will discuss the improvement of PVA models through the addition of biological realistic detail, and features that make the models more relevant to managers and regulators. The talk will illustrate some of the complex spatial population dynamics of the kit fox, as affected by climate change, land use change, and rodenticide use.
The San Joaquin kit fox was once widely distributed across the southern San Joaquin Valley, but agriculture and development have replaced much of the endangered subspecies’ habitat. We modeled impacts of climate change, land-use change, and rodenticide exposure on kit fox populations using an individual-based population model. Our study indicates that climate change will impact kit foxes via several independent pathways. Climate-change induced vegetation shifts increase the total available habitat and could reduce barriers between the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and the more widely distributed desert kit fox in the Mojave. Increased climate extremes will increase the probability of the population dropping below critical levels. Modeled land use change reduces kit fox populations, as does exposure to pesticides. Finally, 55% of the best kit fox habitat also has high potential for solar installations, which could lead to additional impacts for kit fox populations.