Forest Bird Habitat Suitability Models and the Development of General Habitat Models,
COLORADO STATE UNIV FORT COLLINS
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Habitat Suitability Index HSI models were developed to assess the sensitivity of wildlife to habitat perturbations. Because most models consider a single species, their generality is limited. We evaluate the feasibility of combining such models for species occupying similar habitats to create more general models of wildlife-habitat relations. We base our evaluation on an analysis of HSI models for 16 forest bird species. Standardization of both measurement and definition of minimum area and life requisites is necessary to permit model aggregation. Validation should focus especially on assumptions about factors limiting population density and productivity and about how SI values are combined in equations to produce overall HSI values. We emphasize the importance of manipulative field experiments and model sensitivity analyses in such validation activities. We compare the bottom-up approach, in which individual models are aggregated to develop more general models, to the top-down approach of beginning with broad statements about a system and adding in detail only as it is needed. Any attempts to model wildlife-habitat interrelations, whether they apply to single species or suites of species, must also consider the importance of the spatial and temporal scales of resolution used and must treat habitat units as part of a larger landscape mosaic.
- Statistics and Probability