Incorporating habitat use in models of fauna fatalities on roads

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Journal Article
Diversity and Distributions, 2009, 15 (2), pp. 222 - 231
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Aim : To highlight the benefit of using habitat use to improve the accuracy of predictive road fatality models. Location : The Snowy Mountains Highway in southern New South Wales, Australia. Methods : A binary logistic regression model was constructed using wombat fatality presences and randomly generated absences. Species-specific habitat variables were included as predictors in the model selection process as well as two spatially explicit measures of wombat habitat use. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were constructed for each possible combination of predictors in R. The final model was selected by comparing all models subsets for the eight predictors and employing the one standard error rule to select the best model set. Results : The final predictive model had high discriminatory power and incorporated both measures of species habitat use, greatly exceeding the variation explained by a previously published model for the same species and road. Main Conclusions : Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating variables that describe habitat use by fauna for predictive modelling of animal-vehicle crashes. Reliance upon models that ignore landscape patterns are limited in their capacity to identify hotspots and inform managers of locations to engage in mitigation. © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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