To aid the conservation and management of Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus), we developed a spatially explicit model of breeding habitat for the shrub-steppe of western Wyoming. Points of Mountain Plover presence and absence were determined by field surveys conducted May through June 1999. At each point we measured topographic slope and a cover type suitability index related to vegetation height and density. Logistic regression revealed a strong negative relationship between presence and slope, and a weaker and positive relationship between presence and cover index. A multiple logistic regression model using slope and cover index to predict presence successfully classified 87% of the points in an independent data set covering much of western Wyoming. The spatial expression of this model will help managers target future surveys and identify currently unsuitable habitat that could be improved via vegetation management. Patches of suitable breeding habitat of the Mountain Plover in western Wyoming are probably functions of poor soil, low precipitation, and wind scour, and thus are likely rather persistent in space and time. Combined with the relatively large proportion of publicly owned land here, this may make conservation and recovery of the Mountain Plover easier in western Wyoming than in the more dynamic and privately controlled Great Plains.
Beauvais, Gary P. and Smith, Rebekah
"Model of breeding habitat of the Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) in western Wyoming,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 63
, Article 11.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol63/iss1/11