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Heterogeneity of a landscape influences size of home range in a North American cervid

October 2, 2018

In the northeastern United States, chronic wasting disease has recently been detected in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations, and understanding the relationship between landscape configuration and home range may improve disease surveillance and containment efforts. The objectives of our study were to compare size of home range for deer occupying a continuum of forested landscapes and to investigate relationships between size of home range and measures of landscape configuration. We used a movement-based kernel density estimator to estimate home range at five spatial scales among deer across study areas. We developed 7 linear regression models that used measures of the configuration of the forested landscape to explain size of home range. We observed differences in size of home range between sexes among areas that differed based on landscape configuration. We documented size of home range changed with various metrics that identifying connectivity of forested patches. Generally, size of home range increased with an increasing proportion of homogenous forest. Our results suggest that deer in our region occupy a landscape at hierarchically-nested scales that is controlled by the connectivity of the forested landscape across local or broad geographical regions.

Publication Year 2018
Title Heterogeneity of a landscape influences size of home range in a North American cervid
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-32937-7
Authors W. David Walter, Tyler S. Evans, David Stainbrook, Bret D. Wallingford, Christopher S. Rosenberry, Duane R. Diefenbach
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Scientific Reports
Index ID 70227674
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Leetown