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Silvano, A.L., Steury, T.D., and J.B. Grand. 2016. Selecting focal species as surrogates for imperiled species using relative sensitivities. Ecological Indicators


Most imperiled species are rare or elusive and difficult to detect which makes it challenging to gather data to estimate their response to habitat restoration. We used a repeatable, systematic method for selecting focal species using relative sensitivities derived from occupancy analysis to select suites of focal species that would be useful for predicting the effects of restoration of habitat characteristics preferred by imperiled species. We developed 26 habitat profiles that represent habitat relationships for 118 imperiled species. We identified 23 regularly encountered species that were sensitive to important aspects of those profiles. We suggest that this approach can be an effective means of predicting responses by imperiled species to proposed management actions, but suggest that adequate monitoring will be required to determine the effectiveness of using focal species to guide management actions.


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  1. U.S. Geological Survey