USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

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Wildlife Habitat Occupancy Models for Project and Landscape Evaluations in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Proposal [pdf]

Lead Researchers:

Patricia Manley, James Baldwin and Ross Gerrard, USDA FS Pacific Southwest Research Station


A myriad of sources of environmental change and associated land management challenges exist in the Lake Tahoe basin, as is the case for wildland forest ecosystems across the country. Tools exist to evaluate the effects of various sources of change on wildlife, particularly forest management, but they fall short of management's information needs in a number of important ways. At the present time, the primary multi-species assessment tool, California Wildlife Habitat Relationships (CWHR) Database System (CDFG 2008), is inadequate to the task because it is insensitive to most present-day changes in forest composition, structure, and configuration. The Lake Tahoe basin needs a basin-specific evaluation tool that can provide reliable estimations of species occurrence across landscapes and over time in response to a variety of demands for evaluating current and potential future environmental conditions. The goal of this project is to use existing empirical field data that was collected in a systematic manner in the Lake Tahoe basin to develop geographic range maps and habitat occupancy models for high priority forest-associated vertebrate species in the Lake Tahoe basin. As such, we will be extracting additional information and utility from past agency investments. We propose to build habitat occupancy models because they are more robust than abundance models in that they can account for variation in sampling effort and techniques, and the models are not as sensitive to sample year as abundance models. These models will facilitate site and landscape-scale evaluations of management treatments, climate change, and other change agents that affect forest structure and composition today and in the future.

Relation to Other SNPLMA Projects

This project utilizes significant investments previously made by two SNPLMA projects. The first is the Multiple Species Indicator Monitoring (MSIM) project which was a basin-wide monitoring effort supported by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit with Round 5 SNPLMA science funds. The other project is the Lake Tahoe Urban Biodiversity study which was also funded primarily by SNPLMA Round 5 science funds along with numerous smaller contributions from various state and federal agencies in the basin.

Expected date of final products:

June 2012

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM