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Carnivore Ecology and ConservationA Handbook of Techniques$
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Luigi Boitani and Roger A. Powell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558520

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558520.001.0001

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Carnivore habitat ecology: integrating theory and application

Carnivore habitat ecology: integrating theory and application

(p.218) 10 Carnivore habitat ecology: integrating theory and application
Carnivore Ecology and Conservation

Michael S. Mitchell

Mark Hebblewhite

Oxford University Press

Habitat for carnivores is defined as the resources that contribute to fitness, which for many carnivores means prey species. This chapter outlines an approach to studying habitat for carnivores. It emphasizes the theoretical foundations for habitat selection; the scale-dependent, hierarchical nature of habitat; and the potential effects of density dependence that must be considered before designing a habitat study. Study designs and the use of resource selection function as a tool for estimating habitat selection, to include the critical topics of functional responses, defining availability, and quantifying resources, are reviewed. The chapter closes with a discussion about linking habitat selection to population consequences, including habitat-based population estimates, combining habitat and spatial models of mortality risk, and spatially explicit population models. Carnivore ecologists are urged to consider more ecologically oriented approaches in the study of habitat. The conservation dangers of failing to do so are illustrated using case studies of gray wolves, Amur tigers, and black bears.

Keywords:   habitat, hypothesis testing, niche, population models, prey, resource selection function, scale dependency

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