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Title: Mexican spotted owl home range and habitat use in pine-oak forest: Implications for forest management

Author: Ganey, Joseph L.; Block, William M.; Jenness, Jeffrey S.; Wilson, Randolph A.;

Date: 1998

Source: Forest Science. 45(1): 127-135.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: To better understand the habitat relationships of the Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), and how such relationships might influence forest management, we studied home-range and habitat use of radio-marked owls in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) forest. Annual home-range size (95% adaptive-kernel estimate) averaged 895 ha plus/minus 70 (SE) for 12 individuals and 997 ha plus/minus 186 (SE) for 7 pairs of owls. On average, the 75% adaptive-kernel contour (a probability contour containing 75% of the owl locations) included 32 and 30% of the annual home range for individuals and pairs, respectively, suggesting high concentration of activity in a relatively small portion of the home range. Relative area of three covertypes (ponderosa pine forest, pineoak forest, and meadow) did not differ between seasonal ranges, and owls used these covertypes in proportion to their relative area during both breeding and nonbreeding seasons. In contrast, relative area of four canopy cover classes varied between seasons. Breeding-season ranges contained greater proportions of areas with canopy cover greater than/equal to 60% and lower proportions of areas with 20-39% canopy cover than nonbreeding-season ranges. Owls roosted and foraged in stands with 160% canopy cover more than expected during both breeding and nonbreeding seasons, and used stands with 20-39% canopy cover less than expected except for foraging during the breeding season. Stands used for foraging did not differ in structure between seasons and had greater canopy cover and less rock cover than stands with no documented use. Stands used for roosting differed between seasons in a multivariate comparison, but no individual habitat variables differed between seasons in subsequent univariate comparisons. In both seasons, stands used for roosting had greater canopy cover than stands with no roosting use. Closed canopy forests, which were used heavily by owls, were relatively rare on the study area, suggesting that such forests warrant special protection in areas managed for spotted owls. This may conflict with efforts to restore more open conditions in ponderosa pine forests.

Keywords: gambel oak, habitat use, home range, Mexican spotted owl, pine-oak forest, ponderosa pine, radio telemetry

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Ganey, Joseph L.; Block, William M.; Jenness, Jeffrey S.; Wilson, Randolph A. 1998. Mexican spotted owl home range and habitat use in pine-oak forest: Implications for forest management. Forest Science. 45(1): 127-135.


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