Image Database Export Citations


Panthers and Forests in South Florida: An Ecological Perspective

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Comiskey, Jane E. en_US
dc.contributor.author Bass, Oron L. en_US
dc.contributor.author Gross, Louis J. en_US
dc.contributor.author McBride, Roy T. en_US
dc.contributor.author Salinas, Rene en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-07-31T14:54:15Z
dc.date.available 2009-07-31T14:54:15Z
dc.date.issued 2002 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-09-09 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-09-09 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2831
dc.description.abstract "The endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) survives in an area of pronounced habitat diversity in southern Florida, occupying extensive home ranges that encompass a mosaic of habitats. Twenty-one years of daytime monitoring via radiotelemetry have provided substantial but incomplete information about panther ecology, mainly because this method fails to capture movement and habitat use between dusk and dawn, when panthers are most active. Broad characterizations of panther habitat suitability have nonetheless been derived from telemetry-based habitat selection studies, focusing narrowly on forests where daytime resting sites are often located. The resulting forest-centered view of panthers attributed their restricted distribution and absence of population growth in the mid-1990s to a scarcity of unfragmented forest for expansion. However, the panther population has doubled since the beginning of genetic restoration in 1995, increasing five-fold in public areas described as unsuitable based on forest criteria. Although the forest-centered view no longer explains panther distribution, it continues to shape management decisions and habitat conservation policies. The assumptions and limitations of this view therefore merit critical examination. We analyze the role of forests in the ecology of the Florida panther. To address the absence of nighttime telemetry data, we use innovative telemetry mapping techniques and incorporate information from field observations indicating habitat use during active hours (e.g., tracks, scats, urine markers, and kill sites). We consider daytime telemetry data in the context of panther home ranges and breeding units. We analyze home range size in relation to the amount of forest within each range, concluding that percent forest cover is a poor predictor of size. We apply fractal analysis techniques to characterize the relative density of forest cover associated with daytime locations and interpret the results in terms of spatial landscape patterns, highlighting the limitations of daytime telemetry data for characterizing overall habitat use. We conclude that the forest-centered view of panther habitat selection is based on an uncritical evaluation of telemetry data collected prior to the recent population expansion and on the unsupported assumption that day bed habitats are representative of nighttime habitat use. We find that numerous factors contribute to habitat suitability and population density and distribution, and that P. concolor in Florida, as elsewhere in their range, are habitat generalists, exploiting the broad spectrum of available habitats for hunting, resting, mating, travel, denning, and dispersal. Whereas panthers readily use forested habitat with understory and prey, we find no support for the view that only the forested land within a habitat mosaic is potential panther habitat, or for the contention that only forested habitats are used by panthers within existing home ranges. We suggest a more ecologically consistent management and recovery paradigm based on maintaining the integrity of the system of overlapping home ranges that characterizes panther social structure and satisfies breeding requirements. Such a paradigm focuses on the requirements for reproductive success of a small population in a changing environment." en_US
dc.subject panthers en_US
dc.subject forests en_US
dc.subject environmental protection en_US
dc.subject conservation en_US
dc.subject landscape change en_US
dc.title Panthers and Forests in South Florida: An Ecological Perspective en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.type.published published en_US
dc.coverage.region North America en_US
dc.coverage.country United States en_US
dc.subject.sector Wildlife en_US
dc.subject.sector Forestry en_US
dc.identifier.citationjournal Ecology and Society en_US
dc.identifier.citationvolume 6 en_US
dc.identifier.citationnumber 1 en_US
dc.identifier.citationmonth June en_US

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
panthers.pdf 832.8Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show simple item record