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Title: Cougar response to a gradient of human development

Abstract

Human populations continue to increase and transform Earth's ecosystems. For large carnivores, human development reduces habitat abundance, alters predator–prey dynamics, and increases the risk of mortality, which may threaten the viability of many populations. To investigate how the cougar ( Puma concolor) responds to a gradient of human development in four areas in Washington, USA, we used utilization distributions, county tax parcel data, Weibull modeling analysis, and multiple comparison techniques. Cougars used wildland areas the majority of the time (79% ± 2%, n = 112 cougars), with use decreasing as housing densities increased. When present in human-developed areas in eastern Washington, 99% of the habitat that cougars used had housing densities ≤76.5 residences/km 2, which was <846.0 residences/km 2 observed in western Washington ( P < 0.01). Cougars used areas in western Washington with greater housing density likely because of the clustered nature of housing developments, the connectivity with greenbelts and forested corridors, and security cover of dense maritime vegetation. Our findings suggest a consistent, albeit nuanced response by cougars to human development that may be used by wildlife managers, landscape planners, and environmental educators to guide and enhance their efforts to minimize the impacts of human development on cougarsmore » and reduce the potential for conflicts with people. In conclusion, our model may also provide guidance for thresholds of human development for other adaptable large carnivores.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [3];  [3];  [1];  [1]
  1. Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
  3. Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Wenatchee, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA (United States); Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States); Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Wenatchee, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1368591
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1368592; OSTI ID: 1393486
Grant/Contract Number:  
0423906
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ecosphere
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2150-8925
Publisher:
Ecological Society of America
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; cougar; human development; Puma concolor; residential density space use; utilization distribution; Washington

Citation Formats

Maletzke, Benjamin, Kertson, Brian, Swanson, Mark, Koehler, Gary, Beausoleil, Richard, Wielgus, Robert, and Cooley, Hilary. Cougar response to a gradient of human development. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1828.
Maletzke, Benjamin, Kertson, Brian, Swanson, Mark, Koehler, Gary, Beausoleil, Richard, Wielgus, Robert, & Cooley, Hilary. Cougar response to a gradient of human development. United States. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1828.
Maletzke, Benjamin, Kertson, Brian, Swanson, Mark, Koehler, Gary, Beausoleil, Richard, Wielgus, Robert, and Cooley, Hilary. Fri . "Cougar response to a gradient of human development". United States. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1828.
@article{osti_1368591,
title = {Cougar response to a gradient of human development},
author = {Maletzke, Benjamin and Kertson, Brian and Swanson, Mark and Koehler, Gary and Beausoleil, Richard and Wielgus, Robert and Cooley, Hilary},
abstractNote = {Human populations continue to increase and transform Earth's ecosystems. For large carnivores, human development reduces habitat abundance, alters predator–prey dynamics, and increases the risk of mortality, which may threaten the viability of many populations. To investigate how the cougar (Puma concolor) responds to a gradient of human development in four areas in Washington, USA, we used utilization distributions, county tax parcel data, Weibull modeling analysis, and multiple comparison techniques. Cougars used wildland areas the majority of the time (79% ± 2%, n = 112 cougars), with use decreasing as housing densities increased. When present in human-developed areas in eastern Washington, 99% of the habitat that cougars used had housing densities ≤76.5 residences/km2, which was <846.0 residences/km2 observed in western Washington (P < 0.01). Cougars used areas in western Washington with greater housing density likely because of the clustered nature of housing developments, the connectivity with greenbelts and forested corridors, and security cover of dense maritime vegetation. Our findings suggest a consistent, albeit nuanced response by cougars to human development that may be used by wildlife managers, landscape planners, and environmental educators to guide and enhance their efforts to minimize the impacts of human development on cougars and reduce the potential for conflicts with people. In conclusion, our model may also provide guidance for thresholds of human development for other adaptable large carnivores.},
doi = {10.1002/ecs2.1828},
journal = {Ecosphere},
number = 7,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1828

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