A Multivariate Habitat Model for Female Bobcats: A GIS Approach

We developed a Geographical Information System (GIS) based habitat model for female bobcats (Lynx rufus) and subjected the model to internal-validation, cross-validation, and validation using independent data. The model predicted probability of an area being used by female bobcats increased (P <0.001) as slope and distance to mature pine stands increased. Probability of an area being used by female bobcats decreased (P <0.001) with increasing distance to sapling stands, mature hardwood stands, paved roads, maintenance roads, and creeks. Forest type (non-forested, pine dominated, or hardwood dominated) also influenced (P <0.001) probability of use. Internal- and cross-validation indicated the model performed relatively well (75.5% and 73% correct classification, respectively). However, when the model was tested with an independent data set, predicted values were only slightly better than random (57.5% correct classification). Our validation results indicate habitat models should not be trusted in absence of thorough verification.

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