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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

What is optimum Lynx habitat in Montana and how do we ensure its preservation and expansion?.....that is what Rocky Mtn Research Station biologist John Squires is currently studying.........In the West, Lynx are high-elevation, sub-alpine fir forest "specialists, with snowshoe hare accounting for 98% of its foodstuffs...........Mature forest?.............a mixture of mature forest and regenerating woodland?..........What is the optimum mixture that will help the recovering Lynx persist into the millenia?

Montana scientist constructs 3D map of lynx habitat


John Squires has worked with lynx in western Montana for more than a decade. A biologist with the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station, he's located lynx dens, studied the species' use of subalpine habitat and tracked scores of cats using GPS telemetry.

 Now, Squires is teaming up with the Spacial Sciences Center at Montana State University to add a new dimension. Through a mix of new land satellite technology and older radar, Squires intends to construct a three-dimensional map of lynx habitat that will answer two key questions in the agency's management of Montana forests: What exactly is lynx habitat, and how do you maintain it?

"Lynx are very narrow habitat specialists," Squires says. "They stay within high-elevation subalpine fir forests."
cMissoula Independent news
Squires has already gotten a feel for how lynx travel across Montana's landscape. They primarily congregate above the Seeley-Swan Valley. Squires tracked one disperser several years ago that traveled south to Mount Jumbo, skirted Missoula's northernmost neighborhoods and wandered north to Evaro Hill before returning to Seeley. So they know their way around, but how much cover must forests provide for a species that relies on snowshoe hare for 98 percent of its winter diet? What mix of vegetation is ideal? What effects could wildfire management and beetle-kill thinning have on the species?

In seeking answers to such questions, this latest project, overlaid with data from projects past, will most likely lessen management conflicts, Squires says. "It allows us to better conserve the species where it really is, and it allows us to pursue other resource objectives in places where they're not."
Ideally, Squires says, the Forest Service and MSU will have a solid habitat model within the next year.

 Incorporating that into existing data on lynx could take another two years. But the effects of Squires's latest research could be far-reaching. Better maps will ease the uncertainty in legal challenges involving lynx habitat. It will give biologists in other states a model to apply to other lynx populations. And it will supply the agency with the means to monitor ongoing changes in forest structure, a major factor in the conservation of more than just lynx.

"The forests themselves need to be monitored and mapped," Squires says. "There are a lot of other species that need those forests."

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