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Modelling the distribution of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) on the Isle of Wight

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 1999

S. P. Rushton
Affiliation:
Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research, Porter Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
P. W. W. Lurz
Affiliation:
Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research, Porter Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
A. B. South
Affiliation:
Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research, Porter Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
A. Mitchell-Jones
Affiliation:
English Nature, Northminster House, Peterborough PE1 1UA, UK
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Abstract

We investigated the distribution of red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) populations on the Isle of Wight using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) and a spatially explicit population dynamics model (SEPM) with the aim of identifying management options for red squirrel conservation. The presence/absence of red squirrels in habitat blocks in the landscape was used as the dependent variable and the size and separation of habitat blocks as independent variables in the GLM analysis. Red squirrel presence within a woodland was significantly related to woodland size and the distance to the nearest wood known to contain squirrels. The SEPM-generated predictions on population viability were closest to the field data when a low dispersal distance of 1 km was used. This suggests that squirrel dispersal on the Isle of Wight is restricted. Our results suggest that some large interconnected woodlands should be maintained if red squirrels are to be conserved for the future.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 The Zoological Society of London

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