A wavelet-based approach to evaluate the roles of structural and functional landscape heterogeneity in animal space use at multiple scales

Xinping Ye, Tiejun Wang*, Andrew K. Skidmore, Daniel Fortin, Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau, Lael Parrott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The functional relationship between habitat utilization and landscape spatial heterogeneity is fundamental to understanding the spatial nature of animal distribution across scales. Although structural and functional properties of landscape spatial heterogeneity can have different consequences for animal species, few studies have explicitly considered both forms of heterogeneity, partly due to the lack of general methods for direct assessment of scale-specific associations between variables. We present a wavelet-based approach to evaluate the roles of structural and functional landscape spatial heterogeneity in animal space use at multiple spatial scales. As a case study, we examined scale-specific space use patterns of American black bears Ursus americanus in response to structural and functional spatial heterogeneity as well as spatial patterns of vegetation age-classes in a Canadian boreal forest. We found strong differences in the effects of structural and functional spatial heterogeneity and the scales at which they are associated with the patterns of habitat use by black bears. Functional heterogeneity alone affected space use at 800 and 1600-m scales, but had significant effects when interacting with structural heterogeneity at 400, 800, and 1600-m scales. Compared with male bears, female black bears were most sensitive to patterns of forage abundance at intermediate scales, or more specifically, in young and regenerating forests that provide abundant soft mast in boreal forests. Our study highlights the importance of accounting for scale-dependent properties of (structural and functional) spatial heterogeneity in assessing the ecological effects of landscape components and the effectiveness of the wavelet transform technique in identifying such scale-specific relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-750
Number of pages11
JournalEcography
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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