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Scale dependence in habitat selection: The case of the endangered brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the Cantabrian Range (NW Spain)


Sanchez, Maria C. Mateo; Cushman, Samuel A.; Saura, Santiago. 2013. Scale dependence in habitat selection: The case of the endangered brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the Cantabrian Range (NW Spain). International Journal of Geographical Information Science. doi: 10.1080/13658816.2013.776684.

Animals select habitat resources at multiple spatial scales. Thus, explicit attention to scale dependency in species-habitat relationships is critical to understand the habitat suitability patterns as perceived by organisms in complex landscapes. Identification of the scales at which particular environmental variables influence habitat selection may be as important as the selection of variables themselves. In this study, we combined bivariate scaling and Maximum entropy (Maxent) modeling to investigate multiscale habitat selection of endangered brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in northwest Spain. Bivariate scaling showed that the strength of apparent habitat relationships was highly sensitive to the scale at which predictor variables are evaluated. Maxent models on the optimal scale for each variable suggested that landscape composition together with human disturbances was dominant drivers of bear habitat selection, while habitat configuration and edge effects were substantially less influential. We found that explicitly optimizing the scale of habitat suitability models considerably improved single- scale modeling in terms of model performance and spatial prediction.We found that patterns of brown bear habitat suitability represent the cumulative influence of habitat selection across a broad range of scales, from local resources within habitat patches to the landscape composition at broader spatial scales.

Keywords: scale, habitat selection, habitat suitability models, Maxent, brown bear


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Scale dependence in habitat selection: The case of the endangered brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the Cantabrian Range (NW Spain)
Electronic Publish Date: June 20, 2013
Last Update:
June 20, 2013

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