About the Project
For this study we propose to determine at what level recreation significantly impacts habitat use by a suite of medium- and large-sized mammals in the San Francisco Bay ecoregion.
The proposed research will differ from past research in several fundamental ways:
- We will use camera traps to estimate habitat use of different species in accordance with techniques of hierarchical models of occupancy. We are working towards writing a novel multi-species/mulit-state occupancy model to be used for this data. Despite large upfront costs, camera traps provide a non-invasive method for determining animal density, provide a means to gather data while not disturbing animals, and are highly effective during both day and night. Camera traps offer a reliable method to identify species as well as track the number of hikers and bikers in the area.
- Our research will treat recreation as a continuous variable while statistically controlling for the effects of other variables. By sampling in this manner, we will be able to determine threshold levels of recreation for each species. This information can then be provided to land managers and future management decisions can be based on low impact conditions.
- We will investigate how recreation impacts a diverse suite of species that inhabit a variety of land cover types. The response behavior of a species may be determined by heritable antipredator behavior so it is not obvious how a particular species will respond to recreation. By studying a group of species we will be able to determine how recreation impacts different species in different ways.
- We will consider a range of land cover types and investigate how these land covers may influence the impacts associated with recreation use. Differences in vegetation in the landscape may change the responses of wildlife to recreation. In woodlands the area of influence may be smaller because there is more cover available to wildlife making them less vulnerable than in open grasslands. Recreation in one land cover type may have a greater impact on the species found in that area.