Multi-scale Cover Selection by White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in an Agro-forested Landscape
Keywords:White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, cover selection, selection indices, spatial scale, use-availability, Michigan
AbstractResource selection studies are commonly conducted at a single spatial scale, but this likely does not fully or accurately assess the hierarchical selection process used by animals. We used a multi-spatial scale approach to quantify White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) cover selection in south-central Michigan during 2004–2006 by varying definitions of use and availability and ranking the relative importance of cover types under each study design. The number of cover types assigned as selected (proportional use > proportional availability) decreased from coarse (landscape level) to fine (within home range) scales, although at finer scales, selection seemed to be more consistent. Although the relative importance changed substantially across spatial scales, two cover types (conifers, upland deciduous forests) were consistently ranked as the two most important, providing strong evidence of their value to deer in the study area. Testing for resource selection patterns using a multi-spatial scale approach would provide additional insight into the ecology and behavior of a particular species.
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