Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Wildlife Society Bulletin 41(2):194–204; 2017; DOI: 10.1002/wsb.763.


U.S. government work.


We know economic and social policy has implications for ecosystems at large, but the consequences for a given geographic area or specific wildlife population are more difficult to conceptualize and communicate. Species distribution models, which extrapolate species-habitat relationships across ecological scales, are capable of predicting population changes in distribution and abundance in response to management and policy, and thus, are an ideal means for facilitating proactive management within a larger policy framework. To illustrate the capabilities of species distribution modeling in scenario planning for wildlife populations, we projected an existing distribution model for ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) onto a series of alternative future landscape scenarios for Nebraska, USA. Based on our scenarios, we qualitatively and quantitatively estimated the effects of agricultural policy decisions on pheasant populations across Nebraska, in specific management regions, and at wildlife management areas.