Great Basin Naturalist


Distribution and abundance of 215 amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals were monitored for 10 years on Utah's Oil Shale Tracts using line transects, mist netting, and live trapping. Wildlife monitoring was conducted in four major vegetation types and during all seasons to establish a quantitative baseline for use in impact identification during oil shale mining. Habitat preferences were established for many species in cold desert vegetation of two types of desert shrub, and juniper and riparian woodlands. Seasonal, annual, and habitat distribution of each class demonstrated a variety of adaptive responses to environmental variables. The most important environmental variables, that is, those factors resulting in a predictable change in wildlife populations, were, in descending order: weather, food resource, shelter, and competition.