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Evaluating Management Alternatives for Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers: A Modeling Approach

Selina S. Heppell, Jeffrey R. Walters and Larry B. Crowder
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jul., 1994), pp. 479-487
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809319
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809319
Page Count: 9
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Evaluating Management Alternatives for Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers: A Modeling Approach
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Abstract

Managers often must evaluate an array of enhancement proposals for endangered species. We present a male-only, stage-based matrix model to assess potential effects of various management techniques used to enhance red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) populations. We analyzed the elasticity of population growth to changes in each matrix parameter and predicted the population-level effects of 5 proposed management techniques that affect stage-specific survival, growth, and fecundity. Maintaining existing habitat and increasing the number of nesting cavities in unoccupied, but suitable, habitat are most likely to help restore declining populations. Management alternatives that increase survival or fecundity only in existing territories will shift the distribution of male woodpeckers in each stage toward a greater proportion of nonbreeding helpers. We do not know what density-dependent effects might occur as existing territories become more crowded.

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