Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Cara Nelson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences

Abstract

Chile is undergoing one of the fastest rates of native ecosystem loss in the world, mostly due to largescale timber plantations, mining and agriculture. This loss of habitat has put nearly 75% of native forest tree species and endangered Chilean fauna at risk of extinction. For some types of forest and tree species, there are few remaining individuals and remnant patches. Because of this finding additional individuals and patches of endangered tree species is a conservation priority. However, surveying for rare species using conventional methods is cost and time intensive. Dogs are a promising cost-effective approach, but in order to design an effective search program using dogs, it is necessary to have sufficient ecological information on the area being searched, as well as information on risks to the dogs. This project is partnered with Working Dogs for Conservation (WDC) to enable search of five focal species. These species of interest are: Aegla concepcionensis (Tiger crab), Lycalopex fulvipes (Darwin’s Fox), Nothofagus alessendrii (Ruil tree), Pitavia punctata (Pitao tree), and Puma concolor (Puma). To fulfill the goal of preparation for trained dog search, I will assist WDC by 1) determining feral dog densities within priority search areas, 2) identifying priority habitat areas within the reserve, and 3) calculating forest density within these priority habitat areas. Using methods borrowed from similar habitat assessments done in conservation of endangered species, I will be able to identify variables that if found indicate possible presence of highlighted species. My assessment will allow WDC to use trained dogs to detect critically endangered species within Nonguen National Reserve, and ultimately conserve populations found.

Category

Life Sciences

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Habitat Assessment to Enable Use of Dogs to Monitor At-risk Species in Nonguen National Reserve, Chile

Chile is undergoing one of the fastest rates of native ecosystem loss in the world, mostly due to largescale timber plantations, mining and agriculture. This loss of habitat has put nearly 75% of native forest tree species and endangered Chilean fauna at risk of extinction. For some types of forest and tree species, there are few remaining individuals and remnant patches. Because of this finding additional individuals and patches of endangered tree species is a conservation priority. However, surveying for rare species using conventional methods is cost and time intensive. Dogs are a promising cost-effective approach, but in order to design an effective search program using dogs, it is necessary to have sufficient ecological information on the area being searched, as well as information on risks to the dogs. This project is partnered with Working Dogs for Conservation (WDC) to enable search of five focal species. These species of interest are: Aegla concepcionensis (Tiger crab), Lycalopex fulvipes (Darwin’s Fox), Nothofagus alessendrii (Ruil tree), Pitavia punctata (Pitao tree), and Puma concolor (Puma). To fulfill the goal of preparation for trained dog search, I will assist WDC by 1) determining feral dog densities within priority search areas, 2) identifying priority habitat areas within the reserve, and 3) calculating forest density within these priority habitat areas. Using methods borrowed from similar habitat assessments done in conservation of endangered species, I will be able to identify variables that if found indicate possible presence of highlighted species. My assessment will allow WDC to use trained dogs to detect critically endangered species within Nonguen National Reserve, and ultimately conserve populations found.