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

Pennsylvania Project

Allegheny Woodrat: Identifying Strategies to Conserve a Declining Species

October 2012 - September 2014


Participating Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Units

The Allegheny woodrat is an obligate inhabitant of forested, exposed rock habitats in the Appalachians and Interior Low Plateaus and has exhibited a long-term population decline and range contraction. Given that many other species of special concern also are linked to this habitat type, the woodrat is an excellent indicator of habitat conditions. Hypotheses regarding the decline of this species focus on food resources (forest conditions), disease, and habitat isolation. We propose to use datasets from throughout the range of the species to test predictions from these hypotheses and to identify risk factors. This analysis using existing datasets will help quantify a structured decision analysis that can be used to guide habitat management or population restoration actions. The results of the decision model will provide the foundation for a multi-state adaptive management program to maximize the effectiveness of ongoing management activities.