Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 22, 2005
Publication Date: February 5, 2005
Citation: Toledo, D.N., Herrick, J.E., Abbott, L. 2005. Development of wildlife habitat quality indicators from common vegetation measurements [abstract]. Society for Range Management, 58th Annual Meeting and Trade Show, February 5-11, 2005, Fort Worth, Texas. Paper No. 347. Technical Abstract: Wildlife management decisions are often constrained by insufficient information about species-specific wildlife habitat quality. Many vegetation monitoring programs include data on vegetation cover, and composition, yet these data are not readily interpreted for wildlife habitat quality assessments because they have not been correlated with more traditional wildlife habitat indicators. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of different vegetation measurements to develop wildlife habitat quality indicators that are correlated with indicators generated from a vegetation cover pole method. Line-point intercept, plant height, gap intercept, and visual obstruction measurements were used to estimate the spatial distribution of above-ground vegetation in grassland, shrubland and woodland communities in New Mexico. Results indicate that visual obstruction measurements constituted a more reliable and more efficiently quantified index of vegetation structure than plant height in shrubland and woodlands, but not in the grassland site. Results showed that indicators generated from standard vegetation measurements are correlated with traditional habitat quality indicators generated from the cover pole. However, the form and strength of these relationships vary among plant communities.