Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact email@example.com with any questions.
The southern extent of the range of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) extends into the contiguous United States in locations from Washington State in the West to northern Maine in the East. Lynx persist in various habitats across this range from high-elevation wilderness to intensively managed industrial forests. Lynx habitat use at the species' southern range boundary was poorly understood before the species was listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2000, because most research had been conducted in boreal forest. The papers in this special section outline a variety of questions regarding lynx populations at the southern extent of their range, address topics on lynx space use and denning habitat, and provide generally consistent results in terms of features important to lynx habitat use despite the wide variation in specific habitats among the study areas.
The ecology of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and their main prey, snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), is poorly understood in southern Canada and the contiguous United States compared to the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska, USA, where both species are well studied. However, given recent listing of lynx under the Endangered Species Act, accurate understanding of lynx and snowshoe hare ecology and conservation requirements in the United States is a high priority. We critically examined unchallenged perceptions and important research needs related to lynx and hare ecology and conservation at the southern extent of their range. Contrary to popular dogma, lynx do not require old-growth forest for denning, but further research on lynx and hare use of fragmented landscapes at lower latitudes is required. The contention that southern lynx are subject to higher interference or exploitative competition compared to their northern counterparts remains without strong empirical support. Lynx rely more on red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and possibly other alternate prey at lower latitudes, but hares are the predominant food type for lynx across their range. Southern lynx and hare populations do not exhibit periodic cyclicity, but harvest statistics suggest that lynx abundance in the southern range is highly variable, implying that numerical fluctuations likely are fueled by immigration from Canada. Southern lynx population viability in the absence of ingress is suspect and thus maintaining connectivity with northern areas of occupancy should be a priority. Successful conservation of lynx populations in the contiguous United States will require 1) improved understanding of lynx population and habitat ecology at lower latitudes, 2) protection and management of large tracts of lynx and snowshoe hare habitat, and 3) ensured connectivity between lynx populations at the core and periphery of the species' range. However, in light of the numerous challenges facing conservation of populations of many species at their southern distributional limit, the long-term prognosis for lynx in the southern range currently is uncertain.
Effectively managing habitat for threatened populations of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) requires knowledge of habitat conditions that provide for the ecological needs of lynx. We snow-tracked lynx to identify habitat conditions associated with hunting behavior and predation during winters of 2002–2003 and 2003–2004 in the northern Cascade Range in Washington state, USA. We recorded number and success of predation attempts, prey species killed, and trail sinuosity on 149 km of lynx trails. Lynx killed snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), and cricetids more than expected in Englemann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) forests, where snowshoe hare densities were highest. Lynx killed prey less than expected in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests and forest openings. We used the sinuosity of lynx trails as an index of quality of habitat hunted. Lynx trails that included predation attempts were more sinuous than trail segments without predation attempts. Lynx trails had greater sinuosity in forest stands with high hare densities dominated by Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir than in stands with low hare densities dominated by Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine or in forest openings. We encourage forest managers to maintain or create sufficient understory cover to support high densities of snowshoe hares as foraging habitat for lynx.
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) were listed as a federally threatened species in 14 states at the southern extent of their geographic range in March 2000, with Maine being the only state in the northeastern United States known to support a resident population. Relatively little information is known about the ecology of lynx living at the southern edge of their range, including range requirements, movements, and spatial organization. Basic knowledge of lynx ecology is needed for federal recovery planning efforts. Between 1999 and 2004, we trapped and radiocollared 43 lynx (21 M, 22 F) in northern Maine in an intensively managed and predominantly early successional forested landscape. We estimated diurnal annual and seasonal home-range size for male and female lynx using the 85% fixed-kernel home-range estimator. Annual home ranges of adult male lynx (x̄ = 53.6 km2) were more than twice the size of adult female home ranges (x̄ = 25.7 km2). Home ranges of adult females during snow periods (x̄ = 38.3 km2) were nearly 3 times larger than their snow-free-period ranges (x̄ = 14.3 km2), whereas, snow-free ranges of adult males (x̄ = 58.8 km2) were slightly larger than their snow-period ranges (x̄ = 45.2 km2). We observed a limited amount of home-range overlap among lynx of the same sex (F: x̄ = 17.2%; M: x̄ = 11.8%). Lynx of opposite sex showed more extensive overlap (x̄ = 24.3%). Most home-range shifts of resident lynx were typically not extensive. Based on territory mapping, we estimated a minimum lynx density of 9.2–13.0 lynx/100 km2. We observed lynx spatial ecology and densities that were more similar to northern lynx populations when hares were abundant than to other southern lynx populations, suggesting that region-specific studies under varying habitat conditions and hare densities are needed to ensure realistic recovery goals and effective management of lynx at the southern extent of their range.
In March 2000, Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) were listed as a federally threatened species in 14 states at the southern periphery of their range, where lynx habitat is disjunct and snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) densities are low. Forest conditions vary across lynx range; thus, region-specific data on the habitat requirements of lynx are needed. We studied lynx in northern Maine, USA, from 1999 to 2004 to assess quality and potential for forests in Maine to sustain lynx populations. We trapped and radiocollared 43 lynx (21 M, 22 F) during this period and evaluated diurnal habitat selection by 16 resident adult lynx (9 M, 7 F) monitored in 2002. We evaluated lynx selection of 8 habitats at multiple spatial scales, and related lynx habitat selection to snowshoe hare abundance. Lynx preferred conifer-dominated sapling stands, which supported the highest hare densities on our study site (x̄ = 2.4 hares/ha), over all other habitats. The habitats where lynx placed their home ranges did not differ by sex. However, within their home ranges, males not only preferred conifer-dominated sapling stands, but also preferred mature conifer, whereas females singularly preferred conifer-dominated sapling stands. Approximately one-third of Maine's spruce–fir forest and nearly 50% of our study area was regenerating conifer or mixed-sapling forest, resulting from a disease event and intensive forest management (e.g., large clear-cuts). Our findings suggest that current habitat conditions in Maine are better than western montane regions and approach conditions in boreal forests during periods of hare abundance. We recommend that forest landowners maintain a mosaic of different-aged conifer stands to ensure a component of regenerating conifer-dominated forest on the landscape.
We studied den selection of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis; hereafter lynx) at multiple ecological scales based on 57 dens from 19 females located in western Montana, USA, between 1999 and 2006. We considered 3 spatial scales in this analysis, including den site (11-m-radius circle surrounding dens), den area (100-m-radius circle), and den environ (1-km radius surrounding dens). Lynx denned in preexisting sheltered spaces created by downed logs (62%), root-wads from wind-thrown trees (19%), boulder fields (10%), slash piles (6%), and live trees (4%). Lynx preferentially selected den sites with northeasterly aspects that averaged 24°. Average distance between dens of 13 females monitored in consecutive years was 2,248 m, indicating low den site fidelity. Lynx exhibited habitat selection at all 3 spatial scales. Based on logistic regression, den sites differed from the surrounding den areas in having higher horizontal cover and log volume. Abundant woody debris from piled logs was the dominant habitat feature at den sites. Lynx generally denned in mature spruce–fir (Picea–Abies) forests with high horizontal cover and abundant coarse woody debris. Eighty percent of dens were in mature forest stands and 13% in mid-seral regenerating stands; young regenerating (5%) and thinned (either naturally sparse or mechanically thinned) stands with discontinuous canopies (2%) were seldom used. Female lynx selected den areas with greater spruce–fir tree basal area, higher horizontal cover, and larger-diameter trees compared to random locations within their home range. Lynx selected den environs in topographically concave or drainage-like areas, and farther from forest edges than random expectation. Maintaining mature and mid-seral regenerating spruce–fir forests with high horizontal cover and abundant woody debris would be most valuable for denning when located in drainages or in concave, drainage-like basins. Management actions that alter spruce–fir forests to a condition that is sparsely stocked (e.g., mechanically thinned) and with low canopy closure (<50%) would create forest conditions that are poorly suitable for lynx denning.
Establishing whether conditions are suitable for reproduction would help determine if immigration is necessary for Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) to persist at the southern edge of the species range. We located den sites and monitored reproduction of radiocollared lynx in Minnesota from 2004 to 2006. Movement rates of denning females measured with Global Positioning System collars were similar to movement rates of lynx elsewhere. Female lynx with kittens used different habitat types in predenning, denning, and postdenning periods. Landscape composition at the scale of the foraging radius around a den site contained more lowland conifer, upland conifer, and regenerating forest than did home ranges or the area used by radiocollared lynx in Minnesota, USA. We used the spatial distribution of cover-type composition around known den sites to predict and map potential denning habitat in northeastern Minnesota. Techniques for identifying the spatial distribution of suitable denning habitat provide a biological basis for management actions that could enhance recovery of Canada lynx populations in the southern part of the species range.
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) were listed as threatened in the contiguous United States under the Endangered Species Act in March 2000. Little information on lynx ecology at the southern extent of their range was available at the time of listing, and no ecological studies had been conducted in the eastern USA. Between 1999 and 2004, we investigated habitat selection at natal dens in northern Maine to address