My research focuses on the relationship between species' demographies -- their reproduction, survival, mate and territory fidelity -- and their habitat in order to identify habitat elements that distinguish among high quality and low quality habitats. This research necessarily requires long-term capture-mark-recapture work so that the demographic performance of known individuals can be related to the compositions and structures of habitats they use throughout their lives. Products of the research enhance our understanding of the importance of habitat characteristics in species' viability and helps managers provide quality habitats through management activities.
An example of this demographically-based habitat research is our work on the northern goshawk, a 'sensitive' species and a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The focus of concern for this species was loss of habitat due to a forest management practices. The importance of our research on the hawk and its habitat was highlighted in a collaborative effort between animal ecologists, silviculturalists, and foresters to synthesize habitat-related knowledge of the plants and animals in this predator's food web to develop best-science management recommendations. This collaboration identified unique sets of desired habitat conditions that combined both a fine and coarse filter approach to multi-species conservation. The management recommendations were incorporated into forest plans of all National Forests in the Southwestern Region in 1996. Implementation improves visual quality, forage, wood products, and hydrologic function of forests; reduces fire hazards; and increases resilience to insects, disease, and climate change.