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Landscape Analysis of Adult Florida Panther Habitat.

Frakes RA, Belden RC, Wood BE, James FE - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Sensitivity analysis showed that the presence of human populations, roads, and agriculture (other than pasture) had strong negative effects on the probability of panther presence.Forest cover and forest edge had strong positive effects.This model should be useful for evaluating the impacts of future development projects, in prioritizing areas for panther conservation, and in evaluating the potential impacts of sea-level rise and changes in hydrology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Historically occurring throughout the southeastern United States, the Florida panther is now restricted to less than 5% of its historic range in one breeding population located in southern Florida. Using radio-telemetry data from 87 prime-aged (≥3 years old) adult panthers (35 males and 52 females) during the period 2004 through 2013 (28,720 radio-locations), we analyzed the characteristics of the occupied area and used those attributes in a random forest model to develop a predictive distribution map for resident breeding panthers in southern Florida. Using 10-fold cross validation, the model was 87.5 % accurate in predicting presence or absence of panthers in the 16,678 km2 study area. Analysis of variable importance indicated that the amount of forests and forest edge, hydrology, and human population density were the most important factors determining presence or absence of panthers. Sensitivity analysis showed that the presence of human populations, roads, and agriculture (other than pasture) had strong negative effects on the probability of panther presence. Forest cover and forest edge had strong positive effects. The median model-predicted probability of presence for panther home ranges was 0.81 (0.82 for females and 0.74 for males). The model identified 5579 km2 of suitable breeding habitat remaining in southern Florida; 1399 km2 (25%) of this habitat is in non-protected private ownership. Because there is less panther habitat remaining than previously thought, we recommend that all remaining breeding habitat in south Florida should be maintained, and the current panther range should be expanded into south-central Florida. This model should be useful for evaluating the impacts of future development projects, in prioritizing areas for panther conservation, and in evaluating the potential impacts of sea-level rise and changes in hydrology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Location of the Florida panther study area and major land cover classes.(a) Main map shows the study area in relation to the Primary Zone, an area of focus by conservation agencies. Inset shows the location of resident adult telemetry points from 2004 through 2013. Breeding panthers do not occur north of the Caloosahatchee River. (b) Geographical distribution of 10 major land cover categories within the study area, used as explanatory variables in the random forest model. Categories were distilled from the Florida Land Use and Cover Classification System (FLUCCS).
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pone.0133044.g001: Location of the Florida panther study area and major land cover classes.(a) Main map shows the study area in relation to the Primary Zone, an area of focus by conservation agencies. Inset shows the location of resident adult telemetry points from 2004 through 2013. Breeding panthers do not occur north of the Caloosahatchee River. (b) Geographical distribution of 10 major land cover categories within the study area, used as explanatory variables in the random forest model. Categories were distilled from the Florida Land Use and Cover Classification System (FLUCCS).

Mentions: The study area (Fig 1a) was located in southwest Florida where the only breeding population of Florida panthers occurs. The study area was designated by drawing an approximate 16-km buffer (roughly the width of an average female home range) around the Primary Zone described by Kautz et al. [7]. This area is bordered on the west and south by the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay, on the north by the Caloosahatchee River, and on the east by the 16-km buffer drawn around the Primary Zone boundary. Near-shore islands within the 16-km buffer were excluded. The 16,678 km2 study area included most of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, and other public lands, as well as thousands of acres of undeveloped land in private ownership. It also contained large agricultural and urbanized areas, the latter including Naples, Fort Myers, and the outskirts of Miami. The study area was divided into 16,678 square kilometer grid cells (1.0 km on each side). This grid size was chosen to account for telemetry error (within 124–230 m [4, 8, 11]) and because of our interest in analyzing panther habitat characteristics at the landscape scale.


Landscape Analysis of Adult Florida Panther Habitat.

Frakes RA, Belden RC, Wood BE, James FE - PLoS ONE (2015)

Location of the Florida panther study area and major land cover classes.(a) Main map shows the study area in relation to the Primary Zone, an area of focus by conservation agencies. Inset shows the location of resident adult telemetry points from 2004 through 2013. Breeding panthers do not occur north of the Caloosahatchee River. (b) Geographical distribution of 10 major land cover categories within the study area, used as explanatory variables in the random forest model. Categories were distilled from the Florida Land Use and Cover Classification System (FLUCCS).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4519242&req=5

pone.0133044.g001: Location of the Florida panther study area and major land cover classes.(a) Main map shows the study area in relation to the Primary Zone, an area of focus by conservation agencies. Inset shows the location of resident adult telemetry points from 2004 through 2013. Breeding panthers do not occur north of the Caloosahatchee River. (b) Geographical distribution of 10 major land cover categories within the study area, used as explanatory variables in the random forest model. Categories were distilled from the Florida Land Use and Cover Classification System (FLUCCS).
Mentions: The study area (Fig 1a) was located in southwest Florida where the only breeding population of Florida panthers occurs. The study area was designated by drawing an approximate 16-km buffer (roughly the width of an average female home range) around the Primary Zone described by Kautz et al. [7]. This area is bordered on the west and south by the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay, on the north by the Caloosahatchee River, and on the east by the 16-km buffer drawn around the Primary Zone boundary. Near-shore islands within the 16-km buffer were excluded. The 16,678 km2 study area included most of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, and other public lands, as well as thousands of acres of undeveloped land in private ownership. It also contained large agricultural and urbanized areas, the latter including Naples, Fort Myers, and the outskirts of Miami. The study area was divided into 16,678 square kilometer grid cells (1.0 km on each side). This grid size was chosen to account for telemetry error (within 124–230 m [4, 8, 11]) and because of our interest in analyzing panther habitat characteristics at the landscape scale.

Bottom Line: Sensitivity analysis showed that the presence of human populations, roads, and agriculture (other than pasture) had strong negative effects on the probability of panther presence.Forest cover and forest edge had strong positive effects.This model should be useful for evaluating the impacts of future development projects, in prioritizing areas for panther conservation, and in evaluating the potential impacts of sea-level rise and changes in hydrology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Historically occurring throughout the southeastern United States, the Florida panther is now restricted to less than 5% of its historic range in one breeding population located in southern Florida. Using radio-telemetry data from 87 prime-aged (≥3 years old) adult panthers (35 males and 52 females) during the period 2004 through 2013 (28,720 radio-locations), we analyzed the characteristics of the occupied area and used those attributes in a random forest model to develop a predictive distribution map for resident breeding panthers in southern Florida. Using 10-fold cross validation, the model was 87.5 % accurate in predicting presence or absence of panthers in the 16,678 km2 study area. Analysis of variable importance indicated that the amount of forests and forest edge, hydrology, and human population density were the most important factors determining presence or absence of panthers. Sensitivity analysis showed that the presence of human populations, roads, and agriculture (other than pasture) had strong negative effects on the probability of panther presence. Forest cover and forest edge had strong positive effects. The median model-predicted probability of presence for panther home ranges was 0.81 (0.82 for females and 0.74 for males). The model identified 5579 km2 of suitable breeding habitat remaining in southern Florida; 1399 km2 (25%) of this habitat is in non-protected private ownership. Because there is less panther habitat remaining than previously thought, we recommend that all remaining breeding habitat in south Florida should be maintained, and the current panther range should be expanded into south-central Florida. This model should be useful for evaluating the impacts of future development projects, in prioritizing areas for panther conservation, and in evaluating the potential impacts of sea-level rise and changes in hydrology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus