Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Georgia Project

A Spatially Explicit Population Modeling Framework to Support Conservation Decision Making for Gopher Tortoises in Georgia

July 2012 - June 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • CRU Program

Through a combination of meta-analysis and targeted field work, we propose to construct models that combine spatially explicit population processes and landscape elements to predict response of gopher tortoise populations to conservation actions. Probabilities of patch colonization and patch abandonment could be modeled as functions of the local population distribution, habitat and landscape attributes, and assessments of connectivity. Some of the parameters may be obtained from the literature or existing data sources; alternatively, some model parameters may quantified from targeted monitoring that we conduct. Where no information exists at all for a critical parameter, competing models could be developed around plausible values of the parameter. Over time, as conservation actions are carried out and their results are assessed, evidence will accumulate to better inform these models.

Technical Publications Publication Date
Nuse, B. L., R. L. Bormann, J. Hepinstall-Cymerman, and C. T. Moore. 2017. Habitat models and predictions for gopher tortoises in Georgia. Final Report to USGS Cooperative Research Units Program. December 2017