GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER HABITAT PRIORITIZATION IN CENTRAL TEXAS
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I examined the conservation opportunity for Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat represented by the initiation of the Fort Hood Recovery Credit System in the area immediately outside the boundaries of Fort Hood, Texas. Conservation planning requires a thorough and thoughtful examination of the landscape to achieve conservation goals as efficiently as possible in the face of limited financial resources. To successfully accomplish this challenging task, various components of Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat needs must be assessed to ensure that the patches with the greatest value to the species are conserved. However, the “best” sites are frequently not obvious or necessarily adequate in conservation planning scenarios. To aid in the conservation planning process, areas of Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat within 15 km of Fort Hood were identified and delineated using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Habitat patch values with respect to area, quality, and connectivity were also determined. Calculations for the area and quality metrics were fairly straightforward using GIS. The connectivity portion of this analysis used graph theory to examine the relationships among patches in the context of the surrounding landscape. Four aspects of connectivity were assessed using graph theory: (1) source/sink strength of each patch, (2) change in landscape traversability with patch removal, (3) the centrality (betweenness) of each patch, and (4) patch connection to important habitat areas within Fort Hood. The resulting product of this analysis is a table of values (area, effective area, and four connectivity metrics) to accompany each patch identified in the region surrounding Fort Hood. This information can help guide the conservation planning process in the face of financial constraints and varying levels of landowner cooperation.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Fort Hood Recovery Credit System
Geographic Information System (GIS)
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