Keystone structures maintain forest function for Canada lynx after large-scale spruce beetle outbreak

Item Metadata

Dublin Core

Title

Keystone structures maintain forest function for Canada lynx after large-scale spruce beetle outbreak

Description

Central to species conservation in an era of increased disturbance from climate change is understanding the primary mechanisms that facilitate how forest-dependent species respond to changes in forest structure and composition. Here, we leveraged a natural experiment to investigate how changed forest structure and function pre-spruce-beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) and post-beetle disturbance influenced the regional distribution of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) at their southern range periphery. We compared the distribution of Canada lynx that were reintroduced into Colorado, USA from 1999–2006 to the current (2015–2017) distribution following a spatial large-scale spruce beetle outbreak from 2007 to 2016. Canada lynx did not substantially alter their distribution following the wide-spread alteration of forest structure and composition following the insect outbreak. We used the Bhattacharyya’s affinity metric to document that core (50% isopleth) and overall population ranges (95% isopleth) overlapped significantly at 50% and 77% respectively. In addition, areas of low and high relative use remained similar after the bark beetle outbreak and mapped onto one another in nearly a 1:1 fashion (Spearman rank correlation = 0.92, p < 0.01). The low impact of forest change on distribution was due to the keystone habitat elements (high horizontal forest cover, snowshoe hares) that remained functional. Thus, our results highlight that conservation scientists should increase their focus to understand the underlying mechanisms that impact wildlife distributions as climate-related disturbances becomes ever more amplified.

Bibliographic Citation

Squires, J. R., J. S. Ivan, K. E. Paolini, L. E. Olson, G. M. Jones, and J. D. Holbrook. 2022. Keystone structures maintain forest function for Canada lynx after large-scale spruce beetle outbreak. Environmental Research: Ecology 2:011001. https://doi.org/10.1088/2752-664X/ac8eb7

Creator

Squires, John R.
Ivan, Jacob S.
Paolini, Kelsey E.
Olson, Lucretia E.
Jones, Gavin M.
Holbrook, Joseph D.

Subject

Bhattacharyya’s affinity overlap
Canada lynx
Forest disturbance
Keystone structures

Extent

10 pages

Type

Article

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Is Part Of

Environmental Research: Ecology

Date Accepted

09/02/2022

Date Issued

12/16/2022

Date Modified

08/16/2022

Date Submitted

04/08/2022

Collection

Citation

Squires, John R. et al., “Keystone structures maintain forest function for Canada lynx after large-scale spruce beetle outbreak,” CPW Digital Collections, accessed February 27, 2024, https://cpw.cvlcollections.org/items/show/395.