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Predicting some effects of land-use changes on wildlife

Posted on:1989-10-09Degree:Ph.DType:Thesis
University:University of Maryland College ParkCandidate:Hench, John EFull Text:PDF
The objective of this research was to develop a model that could be used to predict potential responses of Wildlife species to habitat changes. More specifically, this research was designed to test the hypothesis that qualitative and quantitative descriptions of surface cover and knowledge of the effects of habitat fragmentation on selected avian species can be used to develop a model that will predict, with 80 to 90% certainty, the species (or guilds) of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that can occur in an area. The research was conducted on Maryland's Piedmont, principally in the 27,000 acre (10,927 ha) Montgomery County Park System. Wildlife-habitat models serve as valuable tools for biologists, land managers, and planners, and facilitate decision-making during the land-use planning and management process. A model was developed for use in the county park system. The model's principle functions are to provide a list of animals potentially using different habitats and to predict the effects of habitat changes on terrestrial vertebrates. The model is structured so that it can be used for inventory, impact assessment, and to compare alternative natural resources management plans in terms of their wildlife value. In part, the model is a synthesis of previous efforts to recognize and describe various components or types of wildlife habitat. The methodology involved the following steps: (1) development of a habitat classification for undeveloped land in county parks, (2) compilation of a list of amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species for Montgomery County from recent records of species distributions, (3) development of a guild classification for the aforementioned species, (4) categorization of each species according to elements in the classification potentially used for feeding and/or breeding, (5) computerization of the model, (6) field inventory of wildlife species and their habitats, and (7) fine-tuning of the wildlife-habitat model. Species were organized into guilds to facilitate future use of the model by resource managers. Following the field inventories, an effort was made to designate particular elements of the habitat classification as particularly important for maintaining select species in the Montgomery County park system.
Keywords/Search Tags:Wildlife, County park system, Species, Predict, Model, Montgomery county, Habitat, Changes
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