Explanatory models of differential habitat selection

Functional response models to quantify habitat selection while accounting for habitat availability in the surrounding region

© Benoît Audet

Project Summary

BAM is developing explanatory models of differential habitat selection (DHS) to better predict changes to bird populations in changing landscapes. These models account for the way differences in habitat availability and species density interact to affect population size and distribution, known as a functional response. In 2019-2020, we summarized habitat distribution at the landscape scale using the Common Attribute Schema for Forest Resource Inventories (CASFRI) database. CASFRI is a standardized compilation of spatially explicit forest resource inventory data from across Canada. We then developed preliminary functional response models that explain a portion of DHS in Black-throated Green Warbler. To accurately predict future distributions and population sizes in response to changing landscapes, it is essential that models account for the effect of habitat availability on the habitat selection process. These models show promise for making better density predictions outside the spatial and temporal bounds of the data to which they were fit.  The next step is to fully develop these models for integration with TARDIS, a forest landscape simulation model, to estimate the effects of different forest harvest strategies on bird populations at a national extent.

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