How much is enough? Landscape-scale conservation for the Florida panther

How much is enough? Landscape-scale conservation for the Florida panther The Florida panther ( Puma concolor coryi ) is an endangered, wide-ranging predator whose habitat needs conflict with a rapidly growing human population. Our goal was to identify specific regions of the south Florida landscape that are of high conservation value to support a self-sustaining panther population. We used compositional and Euclidean distance analyses to determine relative importance of various land cover types as panther habitat and to investigate the role of forest patch size in habitat selection. A model of landscape components important to Florida panther habitat conservation was created. The model was used in combination with radio telemetry records, home range overlaps, land use/land cover data, and satellite imagery to delineate Primary and Secondary zones that would comprise a landscape mosaic of cover types sufficient to support a self-sustaining population. The Primary Zone generally supports the present population and is of highest conservation value, while the Secondary Zone is of lesser value but could accommodate expansion of the population given sufficient habitat restoration. Least-cost path models identified important landscape linkages, and model results were used to delineate a Dispersal Zone to accommodate future panther dispersal outside of south Florida. We determined that the three habitat zones could support 80–94 panthers, a population likely to persist and remain stable for 100 years, but that would be subject to continued genetic problems. The Primary, Dispersal and Secondary zones comprise essential components of a landscape-scale conservation plan for the protection of a viable Florida panther population in south Florida. Assessments of potential impacts of developments should strive to achieve no net loss of landscape function or carrying capacity for panthers within the Primary Zone or throughout the present range of the Florida panther. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0006-3207
DOI
10.1016/j.biocon.2005.12.007
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Florida panther ( Puma concolor coryi ) is an endangered, wide-ranging predator whose habitat needs conflict with a rapidly growing human population. Our goal was to identify specific regions of the south Florida landscape that are of high conservation value to support a self-sustaining panther population. We used compositional and Euclidean distance analyses to determine relative importance of various land cover types as panther habitat and to investigate the role of forest patch size in habitat selection. A model of landscape components important to Florida panther habitat conservation was created. The model was used in combination with radio telemetry records, home range overlaps, land use/land cover data, and satellite imagery to delineate Primary and Secondary zones that would comprise a landscape mosaic of cover types sufficient to support a self-sustaining population. The Primary Zone generally supports the present population and is of highest conservation value, while the Secondary Zone is of lesser value but could accommodate expansion of the population given sufficient habitat restoration. Least-cost path models identified important landscape linkages, and model results were used to delineate a Dispersal Zone to accommodate future panther dispersal outside of south Florida. We determined that the three habitat zones could support 80–94 panthers, a population likely to persist and remain stable for 100 years, but that would be subject to continued genetic problems. The Primary, Dispersal and Secondary zones comprise essential components of a landscape-scale conservation plan for the protection of a viable Florida panther population in south Florida. Assessments of potential impacts of developments should strive to achieve no net loss of landscape function or carrying capacity for panthers within the Primary Zone or throughout the present range of the Florida panther.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Jun 1, 2006

References

  • Toward a theory of inter-refuge corridor design
    Harrison, R.L.
  • Strategic habitats for biodiversity conservation in Florida
    Kautz, R.S.; Cox, J.A.
  • Landscape features and panthers in Florida
    Maehr, D.S.; Cox, J.A.
  • Wide-ranging carnivores and development permits: constructing a multi-scale model to evaluate impacts on the Florida panther
    Maehr, D.S.; Deason, J.P.
  • Florida panther dispersal and conservation
    Maehr, D.S.; Land, E.D.; Shindle, D.B.; Bass, O.L.; Hoctor, T.S.

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