Modelling habitat preferences of feral pigs for rooting in lowland rainforest

Elledge, Amanda E., McAlpine, Clive M., Murray, Peter J. and Gordon, Iain J. (2013) Modelling habitat preferences of feral pigs for rooting in lowland rainforest. Biological Invasions, 15 7: 1523-1535. doi:10.1007/s10530-012-0387-6

Author Elledge, Amanda E.
McAlpine, Clive M.
Murray, Peter J.
Gordon, Iain J.
Title Modelling habitat preferences of feral pigs for rooting in lowland rainforest
Journal name Biological Invasions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1387-3547
Publication date 2013-07-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10530-012-0387-6
Volume 15
Issue 7
Start page 1523
End page 1535
Total pages 13
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) occupy many different habitats worldwide. Their rooting foraging behaviour poses a serious threat to biodiversity as the resulting soil disturbance alters ecosystem structure and function. Understanding what characteristics are important in selecting rooting locations can be used to predict the impact of pigs on ecosystems. We investigated patch selection for rooting by feral pigs at two spatial scales: (1) habitat variables at a site level, and (2) dependency between observations in a spatial context. Seasonal influences on the modelled environmental variables were also examined. We applied a generalised linear modelling approach and model-averaging to explain the relative importance of variables, as measured by the standardised parameter estimates and unconditional variance. Soil texture, rock cover, soil compaction and sand texture were important explanatory variables in the presence of pig rooting. Soil compaction and distance to roads had a negative influence. The highest ranking model included seven explanatory variables with a 41 % chance that this is the Kullback-Leibler best model. Six of the 128 candidate models were in the 95 % confidence set indicating low model uncertainty. Although no differences in pig rootings were detected between seasons, most rooting (65.7 %) occurred during the dry season with soil and sand texture having the strongest effect. This study highlights how pig control programmes can focus limited resources on either the strategic positioning of control devices (e.g., traps and baits) to either reduce the number of pigs or help prioritise habitats of high conservation value for protection (e.g., exclusion fencing).
Keyword Foraging
Generalised linear modelling
Habitat preferences
Model averaging
Sus scrofa
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 13 December 2012.

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Created: Mon, 08 Apr 2013, 22:42:48 EST by Peter Murray on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences