Date of this Version
Adult bobcat (Lynx rufus) habitat selection in a longleaf pine savanna by A.R. Little, L.M Conner, M.J. Chamberlain, N.P. Nibbelink, R.J. Warren. Ecological Processes (2018) 7:20
Background: Pine savannas are primarily managed with frequent prescribed fire (≤ 3 years) to promote diversity of flora and fauna, and to maintain open, park-like conditions needed by species such as the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis). However, a knowledge gap exists in our understanding of bobcat (Lynx rufus) habitat selection in longleaf pine savannas and research is warranted to direct our future management decisions.
Methods: We examined bobcat habitat selection in a pine savanna managed with frequent fires at two spatial scales (i.e., study area boundary [hereafter, landscape scale]) and annual area of use [95% kernel density; local scale]), and assessed effects of prescribed fire on bobcat habitat selection. Specifically, we monitored 45 bobcats (16 males and 29 females) during 2001–2007.
Results: We found differential habitat selection by sex. At the landscape scale, female bobcats were closer to mixed pine-hardwoods, young pine, and secondary roads, but farther from mature pine and hardwoods stands relative to males. We found no difference in selection of agriculture, shrub-scrub, and primary roads between sexes. At the annual area of use scale, female bobcats were closer to secondary roads, but farther from agriculture and shrub-scrub relative to males. We found no difference in selection of mature pine, mixed pine-hardwoods, hardwoods, young pine, and primary roads between sexes. Bobcats primarily selected for stands burned ≤ 1.1 years post-fire.
Conclusions: Our results show that bobcats exploit a broad range of habitat types in pine landscapes managed with frequent fire and commonly use recently burned stands (≤ 1.1 year post-fire), suggesting prey in many areas of this system are at risk of bobcat predation. Additionally, we suggest land managers consider scale of selection by bobcats when developing habitat management strategies.