MODELING WILDLIFE MOVEMENT BEHAVIOR TO IDENTIFY MITIGATION LOCATIONS ALONG LINEAR BARRIERS.
Eric S. Abelson; USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station; 1731 Research Park Dr., Davis, CA, 95616; (530) 641-3742; eabelson@fs.fed.us; Samuel A. Cushman
Wildlife movement is increasingly impinged upon by human based infrastructure. Linear barriers (e.g. roads) are a ubiquitous and disruptive landscape feature for wildlife daily and long-range movements. Departments of transportation, conservation agencies and land-owning agencies face perennial questions of where to locate mitigation activities (e.g. wildlife-safe underpasses) to reduce barrier effects of linear barriers like roads.

Movement modeling for conservation is often focused on connecting discrete aspects of the landscape, however this does not present a holistic view of wildlife movement. To identify wildlife "super-highways," and where they intersect with roads, I use a matrix of nodes across the landscape and full-factorial modeling approaches. The study area is ~2000 km2 in California's Central Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

To assess behavioral, physiological and modeling limitations I compile and present results from over 150 discrete models for deer, Odocoileus hemionus. Taken together, these models identify the role of modeling method (i.e. circuit theory, resistant kernel, least cost path), dispersal distance, response to urbanization, node quantity, linear versus non-linear resistance calculation and least-cost path smoothing. I will present insights on modeling approaches and their implications for locating mitigation structures. In addition I will discuss sources that play important roles in shifting wildlife movement corridors.
Ecology and Conservation of Mammals I