Habitat-based species-specific spatial prediction : geographical distribution of Spiranthes diluvialis : geographical distribution of Spiranthes diluvialis
Pidgeon, Leo Edward
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Influenced by the spirit of the American conservation tradition, federal and state land management agencies are mandated to protect threatened plant species. Field surveys conducted by the Montana Natural Heritage Program indicated the presence of a rare orchid, Spiranthes diluvialis, in southwest Montana wetlands. A study of state-managed wetlands conducted at Missouri Headwaters State Park was requested to determine existing suitable species habitats, to identify species populations, and to develop a conservation management strategy based on habitat evaluation. The objective of this project was to predict the location of suitable species habitats utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis and mapping technology. The project demonstrates the utility of a GIS in aiding land managers for developing an informed threatened plant species conservation strategy. By delineating suitable habitats in a selected area, excessive and redundant field surveys are significantly reduced while building on a data base of species- specific habitats for future studies. Results of this study indicated several suitable habitat sites in the Park. Although species populations were not found at the predicted sites, field observations indicated adequate suitable habitat characteristics for recommending that an effective management strategy should be developed. A simple monitoring protocol was recommended at selected sites as the conservation management strategy.