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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

Probability of presence and adult panther habitat.(a) Probability of presence (P) of resident adult panthers throughout the study area in south Florida, as predicted by the random forest model. (b) Grid cells with P > 0.338 are considered to be adult (breeding) panther habitat. Adult panther habitat is shown in relation to the Primary and Secondary Zones.
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pone.0133044.g003: Probability of presence and adult panther habitat.(a) Probability of presence (P) of resident adult panthers throughout the study area in south Florida, as predicted by the random forest model. (b) Grid cells with P > 0.338 are considered to be adult (breeding) panther habitat. Adult panther habitat is shown in relation to the Primary and Secondary Zones.

Mentions: Probabilities of panther presence for each grid cell predicted by the model were plotted on a map of the study area (Fig 3a). Adult panther habitat (therefore breeding habitat) was defined as those grid cells classified as “present”, i.e., having a probability of presence of adult resident panthers greater than 0.338 (Fig 3b). Using this cutoff point, 5579 km2 of breeding habitat were identified within the study area. Areas of high probability of panther presence were, for the most part, concentrated in a single large contiguous block within the central and northwestern part of the study area. A separate, smaller area of predicted panther use occurred in the southwestern portion of the study area within Everglades National Park. Breeding panther presence was not likely in the Water Conservation Areas, Shark River Slough, or the coastal wetlands of southwest Florida.


Landscape Analysis of Adult Florida Panther Habitat.

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

Probability of presence and adult panther habitat.(a) Probability of presence (P) of resident adult panthers throughout the study area in south Florida, as predicted by the random forest model. (b) Grid cells with P > 0.338 are considered to be adult (breeding) panther habitat. Adult panther habitat is shown in relation to the Primary and Secondary Zones.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0133044.g003: Probability of presence and adult panther habitat.(a) Probability of presence (P) of resident adult panthers throughout the study area in south Florida, as predicted by the random forest model. (b) Grid cells with P > 0.338 are considered to be adult (breeding) panther habitat. Adult panther habitat is shown in relation to the Primary and Secondary Zones.
Mentions: Probabilities of panther presence for each grid cell predicted by the model were plotted on a map of the study area (Fig 3a). Adult panther habitat (therefore breeding habitat) was defined as those grid cells classified as “present”, i.e., having a probability of presence of adult resident panthers greater than 0.338 (Fig 3b). Using this cutoff point, 5579 km2 of breeding habitat were identified within the study area. Areas of high probability of panther presence were, for the most part, concentrated in a single large contiguous block within the central and northwestern part of the study area. A separate, smaller area of predicted panther use occurred in the southwestern portion of the study area within Everglades National Park. Breeding panther presence was not likely in the Water Conservation Areas, Shark River Slough, or the coastal wetlands of southwest Florida.

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