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Is there room for all of us? Renewable energy and Xerospermophilus mohavensis

September 10, 2013

Mohave ground squirrels Xerospermophilus mohavensis Merriam are small ground-dwelling rodents that have a highly restricted range in the northwest Mojave Desert, California, USA. Their small natural range is further reduced by habitat loss from agriculture, urban development, military training and recreational activities. Development of wind and solar resources for renewable energy has the potential to further reduce existing habitat. We used maximum entropy habitat models with observation data to describe current potential habitat in the context of future renewable energy development in the region. While 16% of historic habitat has been impacted by, or lost to, urbanization at present, an additional 10% may be affected by renewable energy development in the near future. Our models show that X. mohavensis habitat suitability is higher in areas slated for renewable energy development than in surrounding areas. We provide habitat maps that can be used to develop sampling designs, evaluate conservation corridors and inform development planning in the region.

Publication Year 2013
Title Is there room for all of us? Renewable energy and Xerospermophilus mohavensis
DOI 10.3354/esr00487
Authors Richard D. Inman, Todd C. Esque, Kenneth E. Nussear, Philip Leitner, Marjorie D. Matocq, Peter J. Weisberg, Tomas E. Dilts, Amy G. Vandergast
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Endangered Species Research
Index ID 70124023
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center