Multi-Species Baseline Initiative: Getting the Most Bang for the Survey and Monitoring BuckVolume 18, No. 1-4, 2012 • Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society (TWS) - Presentation Abstract
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Human dominated landscape change is occurring at unprecedented rates and there is much concern for how land use planners can help species remain resilient over time. However, for many species we lack a baseline understanding of the most basic of biological information such as range and distribution. Even a single survey of little known taxa groups can yield a wealth of information. For instance, our 2010 multi-species survey of 172 sites in the U.S. Selkirk Mountains yielded the first verifiable Idaho detection of magnum mantleslugs (Magnipelta mycophaga) in 68 years (17 specimens from 11 sites) and a higher than expected detection rate of the Idaho state imperiled (S2) fir pinwheel snail (Radiodiscus abietum) (105 specimens from 45 sites). Even species more charismatic than invertebrates often suffer from a lack of basic understanding. For instance, our 2010 Selkirk Mountain survey obtained the first verifiable lynx (Lynx canadensis) detection in the U.S. portion of that range in 18 years. The Multi-species Baseline Initiative (MBI) is driven by a diverse group of partners including not-for-profits, universities, tribes, state, and federal agencies. MBI’s goals are to (1) describe the occurrence and distribution of multiple species, emphasizing species of greatest conservation need, in the Idaho Panhandle and adjoining mountain ranges and (2) implement a single long term monitoring plan for these species. We have divided our 23,825 km2 survey area into 953 5×5 km survey cells. During 2010 and 2011 we conducted 476 surveys for beetles, terrestrial gastropods, and forest carnivores at 476 (50%) of our survey cells.