Multi-scale Habitat Relationships of Grassland Vertebrates in the East Gulf Coastal Plain and Understanding the Consequences of Error in Broad-scale Land Cover Data
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Forestry and Wildlife Science
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Grasslands in the southeastern United States are an ecologically important habitat that has experienced habitat loss and degradation. Conservation efforts have increased the utilization of remotely sensed land cover data to inform management actions of these grasslands. Vertebrate conservation is a main objective of the conservation of grasslands in the region. We used occupancy estimation to determine multi-scale habitat relationships for two small mammal species, the hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) and oldfield mouse (Peromyscus polionotus). We also evaluated the effects of error in remotely sensed land cover data on estimated habitat relationships. Our results indicate broad-scale landscape composition is an important habitat factor to consider for small mammal conservation; however, not accounting for error in land cover data could result in biased parameter estimates.