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Title: Using qualitative methods to support recovery of endangered species: The case of red-cockaded woodpecker foraging habitat

Abstract

Meta-analyses are powerful tools for synthesizing wildlife-habitat relationships, but small sample sizes and complex species-habitat relationships often preclude correlative metaanalyses on endangered species. In this study, we demonstrate qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) as a tool that can reliably synthesize habitat-fitness relationships from small sample sizes for species with narrow habitat requirements.We apply QCA to results from a habitat threshold regression tree model and identify habitat thresholds with consistent positive effects on fitness of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker ( Dryobates borealis; RCW) on the Savannah River Site, USA. We reformulated regression tree results in a QCA framework to examine the consistency of threshold effects on RCW fledgling production at the individual group level ( n = 47). Synthesizing regression tree results with QCA revealed alternative combinations of habitat thresholds that in conjunction with group size consistently led to above-average fledgling production for 41 of 47 (88%) individual RCW groups. Importantly, QCA identified unique combinations of habitat thresholds and group size related to above-average fledgling production that were not retained in the regression tree model due to small sample sizes. Synthesizing a small habitat-fitness dataset using QCA provided a tractable method to identify unique combinations of habitat and group size conditionsmore » that are consistently important to individual fitness, but may not be detected by meta-analyses that can be biased by small sample sizes. QCA offers a viable approach for synthesis of habitat-fitness relationships and can be extended to address many complex issues in endangered species recovery when correlative meta-analyses are not possible.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  2. USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, New Ellenton, SC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDA Forest Service-Savannah River, New Ellenton, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM), Acquisition and Project Management (EM-50)
Contributing Org.:
USDA Forest Service-Savannah River, New Ellenton, SC
OSTI Identifier:
1512088
Report Number(s):
19-02-P
Journal ID: ISSN 2351-9894; 19-02-P
Grant/Contract Number:  
EM0003622
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Global Ecology and Conservation
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2351-9894
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; Endangered species; Habitat threshold; Pine forest; Meta-analysis; Population fitness; Recovery plan

Citation Formats

Garabedian, James E., Peterson, M. Nils, Moorman, Christopher E., and Kilgo, John C.. Using qualitative methods to support recovery of endangered species: The case of red-cockaded woodpecker foraging habitat. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00553.
Garabedian, James E., Peterson, M. Nils, Moorman, Christopher E., & Kilgo, John C.. Using qualitative methods to support recovery of endangered species: The case of red-cockaded woodpecker foraging habitat. United States. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00553.
Garabedian, James E., Peterson, M. Nils, Moorman, Christopher E., and Kilgo, John C.. Tue . "Using qualitative methods to support recovery of endangered species: The case of red-cockaded woodpecker foraging habitat". United States. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00553. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1512088.
@article{osti_1512088,
title = {Using qualitative methods to support recovery of endangered species: The case of red-cockaded woodpecker foraging habitat},
author = {Garabedian, James E. and Peterson, M. Nils and Moorman, Christopher E. and Kilgo, John C.},
abstractNote = {Meta-analyses are powerful tools for synthesizing wildlife-habitat relationships, but small sample sizes and complex species-habitat relationships often preclude correlative metaanalyses on endangered species. In this study, we demonstrate qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) as a tool that can reliably synthesize habitat-fitness relationships from small sample sizes for species with narrow habitat requirements.We apply QCA to results from a habitat threshold regression tree model and identify habitat thresholds with consistent positive effects on fitness of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Dryobates borealis; RCW) on the Savannah River Site, USA. We reformulated regression tree results in a QCA framework to examine the consistency of threshold effects on RCW fledgling production at the individual group level (n = 47). Synthesizing regression tree results with QCA revealed alternative combinations of habitat thresholds that in conjunction with group size consistently led to above-average fledgling production for 41 of 47 (88%) individual RCW groups. Importantly, QCA identified unique combinations of habitat thresholds and group size related to above-average fledgling production that were not retained in the regression tree model due to small sample sizes. Synthesizing a small habitat-fitness dataset using QCA provided a tractable method to identify unique combinations of habitat and group size conditions that are consistently important to individual fitness, but may not be detected by meta-analyses that can be biased by small sample sizes. QCA offers a viable approach for synthesis of habitat-fitness relationships and can be extended to address many complex issues in endangered species recovery when correlative meta-analyses are not possible.},
doi = {10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00553},
journal = {Global Ecology and Conservation},
number = C,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}

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