Landscape change affects the distribution of wildlife and represents a conservation concern, especially in Asia, which is experiencing rapid development. We examined the impacts of landscape change on corsac foxes in Mongolia. We addressed 2 questions: 1) how do common features of a landscape, such as habitats, topography, and human structures, shape the distribution of the species? and 2) how will the loss of those features affect distribution? We developed an occupancy model based on locations (n = 2,437) collected in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, then estimated the marginal loss in average occupancy across the landscape when features were removed. The model with the most support indicated that occupancy was best described by the additive combination of open plain, tall grassland, and shrubland habitats. Average occupancy across the reserve was 22% under current conditions. Simulations involving the removal of each habitat resulted in a marginal loss of 12%, 35%, and 49% in average occupancy, respectively. The loss of all 3 habitats, as expected under climate change projections, will probably make the landscape unsuitable. The results provide the first model of corsac fox occupancy, which can be used to examine distribution and impacts of change in other parts of the species' range. They also suggest that managers should plan conservation activities to allow corsac fox distribution to shift northward as the region becomes warmer and drier and vegetation communities change.
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Vol. 97 • No. 4