Habitat loss and fragmentation on the Palouse and its impact on arthropod conservation


Looney, Chris.. (2008). Habitat loss and fragmentation on the Palouse and its impact on arthropod conservation. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Habitat loss and fragmentation on the Palouse and its impact on arthropod conservation
Looney, Chris.
Prairie conservation--Washington (State) Prairie conservation--Idaho
Environmental Science
The Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington State and adjacent Idaho was mostly converted to agriculture in the late 1800s, and native habitat is now fragmented and surrounded by a matrix of production agriculture. Prairie conservation requires integrated understanding of the physical parameters of remnants, biological communities of those remnants, and how society relates to this fragmented ecosystem. We identified possible prairie remnants in the southern half of the Palouse and described their physical characteristics. There are many possible remnants, predominantly small (less than 2 ha) with high perimeter-area ratios. Remnants are disproportionately found on rocky and shallow soils, and arranged in large clusters around rivers and rocky buttes. Most were within 150m of the next nearest remnant, and almost all are privately owned. To improve our understanding of the native insect fauna, we tested the effect of remnant area and soil on carrion-attracted beetles. Species richness and Shannon-Weiner diversity are not correlated with habitat area or perimeter-area ratio. Beetle abundance and richness were greater in deeper, finer soils, and species-specific differences were noticed between soil types. We also examined how gall-inducing wasp communities of a native rose, Rosa woodsii, respond to landscape context. Gall-inducer species were found throughout the landscape, although total species richness was greatest for communities found within prairie remnants. Finally, we integrated social and bio-physical data to investigate relationships between biological and social aspects of the Palouse. We combined GIS layers of participant-identified meaningful places with maps of native biological communities to interpret how stakeholder perceptions of the landscape corresponded with patterns of native biodiversity. Landscape features that supported diverse biological communities were important to stakeholders for multiple reasons, and may be expedient focal points for conservation efforts. However, the many small prairie remnants on the Palouse, although ecologically important, were mostly unidentified by participants in this study.
Thesis (Ph. D., Environmental Science)--University of Idaho, June 2008.
Major Professor:
Sanford D. Eigenbrode.
Defense Date:
June 2008.
Format Original:
x, 116 leaves :col. ill., col. maps ;29 cm.

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