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California spotted owls prefer protected areas


Cara J

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To understand which characteristics of forests California spotted owls prefer, researchers determined it was important to take a look back in time. As part of a study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, a research team compared how characteristics of four different sites in the Sierra Nevada affected site occupancy of California spotted owls (Strix occidentalis) in the areas from 1993-2011. Three of the study areas were national forests which were managed for logging and other activities — Lassen National Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, Eldorado  and Tahoe National Forests in the central Sierra Nevada — while the fourth study area was in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which is a protected area in the southern Sierra Nevada. All of the forests studied are primarily mixed-conifers. “Most of the time when we do these retrospective studies, we are looking at areas managed in very similar ways,” said long-time TWS member Rocky Gutiérrez, a Gordon Gullion Chair Emeritus at the University of Minnesota and coauthor of the study. “Here, we have one that’s protected. And what we found was that the occupancy rates were higher on the protected areas while the rates showed decline on the [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/california-spotted-owls-prefer-protected-areas/

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